(NewsNation Now) — New York and Los Angeles public schools will welcome all 1.5 million students they combine to educate back in the classrooms this fall, they announced Monday.
New York schools will remove the remote learning option entirely. “One million kids will be back in their classroom in September, all in-person, no remote,” Mayor Bill De Blasio said. “You can’t have a full recovery without full-strength schools, everyone back sitting in those classrooms, kids learning again.”
As of now, masks will still be required.
L.A. schools superintendent Austin Beunter announced Monday he expects all students in classrooms five days per week in the fall with masks. However, the district will offer online learning to families that want one.
They’re also offering vaccines to children who are eligible at schools.
As COVID-19 cases and deaths decline across the U.S., the push to reopen schools is getting stronger. Some parents are pushing for their students to go back full time, citing the typically mild COVID-19 infections children get – if they get them at all.
President Joe Biden has called for schools to reopen. He pledged more than half of students younger than high school age would be back in class by the end of his first 100 days in office. He hit that goal, but many of those students were only in class as part of a hybrid schedule.
The distinction between high school kids and younger children is born from evidence that older teenagers can get and spread COVID-19 similar to adults.
That concern could be addressed as more teens get vaccinated. Pfizer’s vaccine is the only one authorized for Americans younger than 18. The FDA authorized it for children as young as 12. Moderna, which also makes a 2-dose vaccine, says a trial found it to be 96% effective in children aged 12-17, and is now testing it on kids as young as 6 months.
Not all teachers were on board with imminent reopening this spring. The Chicago Teachers Union pushed for more protection for educators at schools that reopen. Negotiations delayed the city’s planned reopening for K-8 students in February as the union threatened to strike over vaccine availability and remote work options.
Chicago Public Schools, the country’s third largest district, has not finalized its plan for the fall but its website says they expect to have students back in class five days per week.
Florida, which is home to five of the country’s 10 biggest school districts, has kept doors open since October 2020. “We are open, we remain open, and we are not turning back,” said Gov. Ron DeSantis in February.