Mayor Bill de Blasio announces public middle and high schools won’t reopen until 2021

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NYC mayor Bill de Blasio

The news that no student in New York wanted to hear was recently announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio: Public middle and high schools in NYC will not open until 2021 at the earliest. 

For weeks that have turned into months, and soon now a year, the majority of students living in NYC have been learning fully remotely. 

“The focus will be over the next few weeks up until the Christmas break, getting elementary, District 75 special education and pre-K and 3-k up and running,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said to reporters on Monday. Starting December 10th,  Pre-K and elementary school students will be given the option to go into schools again. 

Bethel Berhe, a senior at the iSchool was dismayed by the news. “I feel like it’s not a good idea because that’s only affecting students even more mentally and emotionally. But I understand why they’re doing it,” she said.

At iSchool, no more than seven people occupied a classroom with a teacher who supervised. Everyone was required to wear masks and sit more than six feet away from each other. 

Earlier in the year, students were given the option to choose a hybrid learning experience where they could go into school for up to a couple days per week. This option was unfortunately removed as of November 18th, coming after a significant increase of COVID-19 cases citywide.

This is a big concern for remote learning. As time goes on without kids having face to face social interactions with friends in public places, more and more are feeling negative effects to their emotional and mental state. 

Dr. Snyder, an English teacher at the iSchool, says his main concern is student safety.

I know that learning from home is less than ideal, but I’m optimistic that we just need to hang on a bit longer,” he said. “I hope that students take advantage of the services offered by our guidance office to help them through this difficult time.”

On the bright side of things, many countries have approved a vaccine that would prevent the virus, which is is a step towards going back to a normal school life. 

We’ll all have to wait and see how it turns out (fingers crossed).