“I am very happy to be able to vaccinate my child on the same day,” she said.
On the first day of school last week, the preliminary attendance rate was just over 82%, lower than in the last few years. Before the pandemic, the attendance rate on the first day was about 90%. De Blasio did not say how many students were back, and said the city would provide more complete data in the coming weeks.
According to the city’s Covid-19 Casemap website, one school, East Harlem’s PS 79, was closed on Monday and moved to full distance learning for 10 days. Over 400 classrooms have been closed.
Brooklyn Special Education Teacher Annie Tan called the new quarantine rules reckless and said it could lead to an increase in cases. She said some parents were worried about sending their students to school after one of their classmates tested positive for the virus.
“When it comes to routines, it’s certainly more stable, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe,” she said.
A Democrat with less than four months in office, De Blasio was the first mayor in decades when his children attended public school and graduated, and his most popular achievement was in a universal kindergarten. He considers reopening of school important to address inequality and laments that poor families struggled most with distance education during the pandemic.
He reiterated on Monday that the city would not offer distance learning options, except for schools that had to be closed completely.
“The Prime Minister and I basically believe that our children need to be in school,” he said. “Therefore, there is no wide range of remote options available.”
School Prime Minister Meisha Porter said more than 78 percent of education employees were vaccinated. She said the city recently hired 5,200 new teachers and did not anticipate a shortage next week when the mission began.
“We distributed over 3,000 vaccines to campus students and staff during the first few days of school,” she said. “I think we’re excited about it and we’re heading in the right direction.”