New York Mayor Adams: ‘Our schools will remain open’

New York City Mayor Eric Adams insisted on Tuesday that schools in the district will remain open despite the spread of omicron COVID-19 cases.

His comments came after Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of New York Teachers, told “Good Day New York” last week that Adams was considering a remote learning option.

“Our schools are open,” Adams said at a news conference Tuesday. “…We have been clear from the start – and I don’t want anyone getting involved – our schools will remain open. We are not going to do anything that will stop our children from going to school. We say it again and again and again. … Our schools are going to stay open.”

New York Mayor Eric Adams speaks during a press conference in the Brooklyn borough of New York on Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

Adams said his administration decided on “day one” not to close schools.

“As other cities have shut down around us, we have been clear in our message,” Adams said. “We didn’t give parents the uncertainty that we had seen before. We were very clear – our schools were going to stay open, and we pushed through the idea that schools were going to close, and parents had a basic understanding that their children had a place to go in the morning.”

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Thousands of schools across the United States closed in early January after the holidays due to an increase in COVID-19 cases, as well as harsh winter conditions. Students at Brooklyn Technical High School staged a strike last week to protest in-person learning.

Students wearing face masks board a school bus outside New Explorations into Science, Technology and Math school in New York's Lower East Side on Dec. 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Brittainy Newman, File)

Students wearing face masks board a school bus outside New Explorations into Science, Technology and Math school in New York’s Lower East Side on Dec. 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Brittainy Newman, File)

The Chicago School District recently made headlines after clashing with the Chicago Teachers Union, which required distance learning until an agreement was reached with the school district for additional COVID-19 safety measures. 19. Classes were canceled for five days before the two entities reached an agreement.

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Adams attributed the city’s ability to keep schools and businesses open to residents’ efforts to get vaccinated and reduce their risk of experiencing severe viral symptoms. More than 16 million New Yorkers have been vaccinated and 2.5 million have received their boosters, the new mayor said Tuesday. About 74% of New York’s population has been fully immunized.

Earth School teachers speak out about issues around lack of COVID testing outside of PS 64, Dec. 21, 2021, in New York City.  (AP Photo/Brittainy Newman, File)

Earth School teachers speak out about issues around lack of COVID testing outside of PS 64, Dec. 21, 2021, in New York City. (AP Photo/Brittainy Newman, File)

According to the New York Times, about 96% of teachers in New York were vaccinated by November.

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The White House and the Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona expressed support for keeping schools open amid the pandemic. The US Surgeon General and the American Academy of Pediatrics have warned of the impact school closures have had on children’s mental health and educational outcomes.

The White House announced last week that a dedicated stream of 5 million rapid tests and 5 million PCR lab tests will be made available to schools starting this month to ease supply shortages and promote the safe reopening of schools.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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