New York City has no plans to bring back remote learning for the city's public school students, with the exception of those isolating at home due to positive COVID tests.
Mayor Eric Adams emphasized Tuesday morning that there would be no widespread school closures in the five boroughs on account of an Omicron variant-fueled increase in COVID cases.
"I don't want anyone to get this mixed up," Adams said. "Our schools are going to remain open. We're not going to do anything that's going to stop our children from coming into schools."
The decision, Adams explained, is part of his administration's promise to eliminate uncertainty for parents and continue the city's path to economic recovery.
Speculation about a return to full-time virtual learning comes amid a series of student walk-outs, lower-than-normal attendance since winter break and complaints from Department of Education members, who are concerned about whether heightened COVID protocols are being appropriately implemented at every city school.
Mayor Adams was adamant that the safest place for children to be during the pandemic is in school. Still, many parents are keeping kids at home "for whatever reason," he conceded.
Between one-quarter and one-third of NYC public school students are not showing up to class on a given school day since winter break, according to city data.
Adams met twice last week with teachers union leaders, who urged him to suspend in-person learning until the Omicron surge subsides. The mayor, however, was not convinced.
"There is no remote option that is prepared to be announced at this time," he said, before insisting that the city's current COVID plan for schools is the best it has ever been.
The city's test-to-stay policy, implemented January 3, allows kids to stay in class in person if they test negative with a city-provided rapid test, even if there has been a known virus exposure at school.
The city has distributed 4.5 million at-home rapid test kits, which have so far identified at least 25,000 positive cases.
Adams' comments come as New York Governor Kathy Hochul spoke of a "dramatic improvement" in the fight against COVID in recent weeks, particularly in New York City.