Photo by Mwesigwa Joel on Unsplash

New York City high school students will be back in the classroom this month. Officials announced March 9 that in-person classes will begin on March 22, and in-person sporting events will resume in April.

Almost 500 schools will welcome back an estimate of 55,000 students and 17,000 staff members to resume in-person learning. Before the pandemic, NYC high schools had about 326,000 students.

RELATED: Newsom Agrees on Proposal To Reopen California Schools

The entirety of NYC high schools were shut down in November, after a spike in COVID-19 cases. Due to an increase in coronavirus testing, parts of the schools have gradually reopened.

When given the option, only a small fraction of parents sent their children back to the classroom for in-person learning, while most kept their kids at home to learn online. Thousands of high school staff have been working remotely, including 26% of teachers who are using medical accommodations to continue teaching remotely until the end of the school year. 

There is little evidence of coronavirus transmission in schools, as city officials cite a cumulative positive test rate of .57% since October. 

Mayor de Blasio announced the reopening of NYC schools at a Monday news conference. 

β€œWe are ready to go. We have all the pieces we need to bring high school school back and bring it back strong β€” and of course to bring it back safely,” said de Blasio.

City officials also announced that the Public Schools Athletic League will resume in early April, but did not give a specific date. Practices will begin in April, and games will begin in May, extending through the summer. 

School sports will be offered to both students who registered for in-person classes and remote learning.

Students will be required to wear masks during practices and games, along with participating in weekly coronavirus testing. Spectators will not be allowed at any sporting events. 

Schools that are reopening in this new wave will be required to test at least 20% of staff and students each week, and implement safety precautions such as masks and social distancing. 

If two or more positive coronavirus cases show up at a school in one week, that school must shut down, and remain closed for at least 10 days if contact tracers can’t determine the origin of the cases.

Teachers will return to NYC high schools on March 18 and 19. Schools that are opening soon will shut down for a week after March 22 for spring break.

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Written ByHaley Weger

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