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New York Mayor Bill de Blasio in New York on Nov. 28. Photo: Kena Betancur/AFP via Getty Images

Some New York City schools will be allowed to reopen for in-person learning as early as Dec. 7, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Sunday.

The state of play: De Blasio said schools will no longer be forced to shutter when the city hits a 3% COVID-19 test positivity rate, but he did not specify what the new threshold will be. The school district will mandate weekly tests for 20% of children in each school, and students will not be tested before they return.

Details: Students in pre-kindergarten programs through fifth grade can return to in-person learning on Dec. 7, and special education students can return to classrooms on Dec. 10, de Blasio said.

  • All students returning to the classroom must have a signed consent form from their parents for weekly testing or proper medical exemption from a doctor.
  • Middle and high schools are not included in current plans to reopen. We're "not ready for those yet," de Blasio said, citing the high technical requirements of weekly testing for students.

What they're saying: "We are seeing cases rise across our city ... our schools have been remarkably safe," New York City schools chancellor Richard Carranza said at de Blasio's press conference.

  • "It's a new approach because we have so much proof now of how safe schools can be. And this has come from real-life experience in the biggest school system in America," de Blasio said.
  • “Now the goal is, this will be the model for the duration. This is what is going to take us through to when we have a vaccine.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo endorsed de Blasio's decision when speaking to reporters later on Sunday, saying: "I think that's the right direction."

Go deeper

Jan 26, 2021 - Health

U.K. surpasses 100,000 COVID-19 deaths

Photo: Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images

The U.K. on Tuesday surpassed 100,000 coronavirus deaths almost a year after the first two cases were reported in the country, according to government figures.

Why it matters: It is the first European country and fifth country in the world to reach the threshold. The country reported 100,162 deaths on Tuesday.

Jan 26, 2021 - Health

Biden admin to boost COVID vaccine delivery to states for at least 3 weeks

Vice President Harris receives her second COVID-19 vaccine dose in Bethesda, Maryland, on Jan. 26. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration plans to increase its COVID-19 vaccine shipments to states and tribes from 8.6 million doses per week to 10 million for at least the next three weeks, as part of an effort to vaccinate the majority of the U.S. population by the end of this summer.

Why it matters: Hospitals in states across the U.S. say they are running out of vaccines and the country's death toll is sharply rising.

AAPI leaders praise order on discrimination but say Biden needs to do more to "prioritize" community

President Biden on the left. Rep. Judy Chu on the right. Photos: Doug Mills-Pool (left) and Paul Morigi/WireImage for The Recording Academy (right) via Getty

Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) lawmakers, community organizers and advocacy groups commended President Biden's Tuesday order directing an examination of anti-Asian bias and discrimination, but pushed the administration to commit to stronger action.

Why it matters: Anti-Asian hate crimes have surged since the pandemic began, reaching more than 2,500 in August according to Stop AAPI Hate, an initiative that tracks anti-AAPI racism.

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