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NEW YORK, NY — New York City’s public schools will remain open and safe amid a massive COVID-19 surge, Mayor Eric Adams pledged.
Adams made the promise as students returned to classes Monday after holiday break defined by staggering daily coronavirus case totals fueled by the omicron variant.
He acknowledged parents and teachers feel anxiety about children returning to classrooms, but urged calm.
“Calmness is competency,” he said. “We need to be calm. If not, we feel this sense of anxiety and make the wrong calls.”
Later, during an interview on Bloomberg TV, Adams said keeping schools open is a necessity for students’ well-being and education.
“We cannot lose two more years of education for our children,” he said.
Public schools are the safest places in the city, Adams said, noting they have a positivity rate of less than 1 percent. The average positivity rate over the past week is 33.49 percent among people who tested, according to city data.
Bring your children to schools, Adams told worried parents.
“That’s a safe place for your child,” he said. “In the home and in the community is not the safest place.”
Adams announced he’ll open a new “command center” for schools to deal with COVID-19 surges and staff shortages.
Indeed, many schools have had to deal with educators calling in sick. Chancellor David Banks said officials are monitoring shortages, as well as shoring up substitutes and paraprofessionals to fill in gaps.
“All indications are that we’re in a pretty good place right now,” he said. “We’ll be prepared to make whatever adjustments are needed.”
Education officials, in conjunction with the United Federation of Teachers union, also put 1.5 million COVID-19 test kits in schools, Adams said.