NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio Says ‘Science’ Shows ‘Schools Need To Be Open’

(Photo by David Dee Delgado/Getty Images)

Andrew Jose Contributor
Font Size:

Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday that schools are safe for kids to return to and need to be open.

“Schools have been safe and schools are where kids need to be,” de Blasio said during a Tuesday media briefing on the state’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. ” President Biden has been so clear and strong on his message. I agree with him 100 percent. The science is clear, schools need to be open.”

“Everyone talks about the needs of our kids, their health needs, physical health, mental health, nutrition needs, their social development needs, their academic needs. Schools need to be open,” the mayor said.

Children in New York City are expected to return to their schools Monday after their week long Christmas and New Year holidays. The growing number of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations in the city, however, has sparked concern regarding the return to school, NBC New York reported

The city has witnessed a transmission level of 1741.65 fresh cases per 100,000 people in the last 7 days, according to data from NYC Health. 

The Mayor has responded to the growing number of Omicron cases by doubling the volume of weekly PCR tests conducted in schools. (RELATED: Biden Says COVID Rapid Testing Shortage Not His Administration’s Fault Because Latest Variant Was Such A Surprise)

Around a million testing kits are making their way to schools in New York City ahead of the Jan. 3 return to school, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said Monday.

During a brief appearance in de Blasio’s COVID-19 briefing, Hochul said Omicron “is affecting children more than the past variants,” according to NBC New York. “Before we always said, ‘Don’t worry so much.’ That was a different variant.”

There is a “public interest” in children going back to school safely, Hochul said, according to reporting from NBC New York. “We saw the failed experiment, despite the very best efforts of incredibly hard-working, passionate teachers who did their very best with remote teaching and the parents who were just pulling their hair out at kitchen tables trying to make sure that it worked successfully.”

The mayor’s strategy to fight the new variant while not enacting a lockdown entails distributing at-home testing kits in classrooms where a student has tested positive. Students who receive the tests must then inform the school the following day of the results, whether they are asymptomatic or negative.

Students in New York City schools will take two at-home tests in a week, according to de Blasio’s plan, the outlet reported. 

“This guarantees more consistency in their education. It guarantees fewer disruptions. And it works because here’s the fact we now know: 98% of close contacts don’t turn into positive cases themselves,” de Blasio said, according to NBC New York. “We have a lot of evidence now that tells us this is going to be the approach that works in the future.”