NY Public Schools to Ease Covid Closure Rules

High school students in the Bronx, Monday, March 22, 2021. (Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)

New York City public schools will no longer close in-person learning if two people in the building test positive, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced at his press conference on Thursday.

For months, parents and students complained that the two-case closure rule was unnecessarily strict and made school more difficult for parents, children, and staff as their schedules changed at a moment’s notice and they bounced from in-person to virtual.

“[If] there are two cases or three cases in a week that will lead to an increase in testing, but not a closure, if there’s four or more cases and they’re in different classrooms and can be traced to a known exposure within the school, that’s when there’ll be a closure,” de Blasio said. “[In] every instance where there’s any kind of closure, after ten days of school is back open.”

For individual classrooms, the rules are stricter; if there is one confirmed case, students will learn remotely for ten days before returning.

The new guidelines “will help us to have more consistency in school attendance and schedules, keep strong health and safety standards,” the mayor said.

The city intends to have all students from PreK to high school back in person in September 2021.