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New York City middle schools will reopen to some students for the first time in months

New York City middle school students in grades six through eight who have opted for in-person learning will return to classrooms on February 25, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday.

Teachers and staff will return the prior day, de Blasio said.

NYC Department of Education Chancellor Richard Carranza said he was “thrilled” to announce the return.

The DOE is adding teams to conduct weekly testing in middle schools, Carranza said. Weekly testing in elementary schools will continue, he said.

Teachers returning to work in person are being prioritized for vaccine access at city hubs from this Friday through February 21, over mid-winter recess, he said.

New York City public schools closed to in-person learning in November after the citywide seven-day test positivity rate for Covid-19 exceeded 3%.

The mayor introduced that 3% threshold at the beginning of the school year. The city has since decided to abandon it.

In December, elementary school classrooms reopened for students.

Two key factors fueled the push to reopen elementary schools: Younger children have struggled the most with online learning, and younger students also appear to have the lowest rate of coronavirus spread.

It was not immediately clear when high school students might return to classrooms.

New York City public schools is the nation’s largest school district, with more than 1.1 million students.

But across New York City, enrollment — both in-person and online — has dropped by 31,000 students as of December. The decrease in New York City has mirrored an alarming nationwide trend during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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