What the First Day of School May Look Like in Two Weeks
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Weather: The slight chance of showers in the morning will increase to a 50 percent chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon. Expect a high in the mid-80s.
Alternate-side parking: In effect until Sept. 6 (Labor Day).
Credit…James Estrin/The New York Times
The largest school district in the country will soon be back in full force.
In just two weeks, the roughly one million public school students in New York City are set to return to their classrooms with no remote option available. The effort comes amid the spread of the contagious Delta variant, and as the vaccine remains unapproved for children under 12.
Still, in recent weeks, greater clarity has come into view for parents and families as to how the city intends to run schools and keep students safe.
[Read more about the safety protocols for students and teachers in the reopening.]
Here are details on the plans from my colleagues Eliza Shapiro and Joseph Goldstein:
On Sept. 13, the city is set to open all of its 1,800 public schools for full-time, in-person instruction five days a week. There will be far more seats filled than last year, when about 350,000 students opted into in-person learning at some point during hybrid schooling.
Mask mandates have been in place since last year, and all teachers and other education staff are required to get at least one dose of the vaccine by Sept. 27. In over 90 percent of classrooms, officials say, there will be three feet of distance between students.
The city also plans to expand its program that allows medically vulnerable children to get some weekly in-person, at-home instruction.
The city is shrinking its school virus-testing program, with 10 percent of unvaccinated students expected to be tested every other week this year.
The plan may invite scrutiny: Los Angeles, the country’s second-largest school district, for example, is aiming to test every student and staff member each week.
Quarantines and shutdowns
When someone in a classroom tests positive, only unvaccinated “close contacts” will have to quarantine for 10 days. Still, in elementary schools, when one student tests positive, the entire class will temporarily switch to remote learning.
Buildings will close for 10 days if there is evidence of widespread transmission, but there will be no set number of positive cases that triggers a shutdown.
Over half of eligible city children have received at least one dose of the Pfizer vaccine, though it is unclear how many of them are public school students. Still, there are wide racial disparities in the vaccination rates for teenagers, so some schools will be far more susceptible to outbreaks than others.
From The Times
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Want more news? Check out our full coverage.
The Mini Crossword: Here is today’s puzzle.
What we’re reading
Some Asian American students and families are worried about the return to in-person schooling because of the rise in hate crimes during the pandemic. [Chalkbeat New York]
Officials are still evaluating plans for the future of the Vessel at Hudson Yards after a teenage boy last month became the fourth person to die by suicide at the attraction. [NBC 4 New York]
Fewer subway cars have had defective air conditioning this spring and summer than in 2019, data shows. [Gothamist]
And finally: The return of art festivals
The Times’s Zachary Small writes:
Artworks are being flown in from overseas, the showroom has been spruced up and ticket sales have started for the Armory Show, which is preparing to become the first major American art fair to come back amid the pandemic when it opens Sept. 9 at its new location at the Javits Convention Center.
“We have to be ready for anything,” the fair’s executive director, Nicole Berry, said. “We are putting on this event and have a Plan A, B, C, D and E.”
When plans for the Armory Show came together earlier this year, its planners envisioned the fair as an anchor of the fall arts season, symbolizing the art world’s triumphant return to selling and schmoozing in person. They planned on opening the event near full capacity, welcoming thousands of visitors to browse the works of nearly 500 artists presented by more than 200 galleries from 37 countries.
Then came a summer resurgence of the coronavirus, stagnant vaccination rates and travel restrictions, preventing many galleries from participating in what has typically been an economic engine in the art market.
Armory Show organizers said that the majority of ticket sales occur just before the event and without reservations, so it’s difficult to say how crowded the showroom floor will be. In a typical year, the show welcomes about 54,000 people during its run time, but the pandemic has led to some health and safety measures that could limit crowds.
In Chelsea, the Future Fair has rebuilt its program from the ground up after postponing its inaugural edition last year because of the pandemic. Among the new list of 34 exhibitors, 25 percent are owned by people of color and half are owned by women — a rarity in the world of art fairs.
“We have been working on this since 2018 and it’s been a labor of love,” said Rachel Mijares Fick, one of the Future Fair’s organizers. “There were moments when we were like, ‘How are we going to get through this?’”
It’s Wednesday — find your inner artist.
Metropolitan Diary: Last ferry out
On a hot July weekday, a colleague and I enjoyed dinner and drinks at a restaurant on Front Street in Manhattan.
Two frozen margaritas later, we agreed to do it again in a month.
“You taking the train?” she asked.
“No,” I said, smiling. “I’m going to head over to the Seaport. Catch the last ferry out.”
At Pier 11 at Wall Street, I got the attention of a uniformed worker and pointed to Slip A.
“Ferry to the Bronx still depart from there?” I asked.
“None of our ferries go to the Bronx,” he said, shaking his head.
“Oh, of course not,” I responded, remembering that the Financial District was now a tourist destination. “How about a ferry to Soundview/Clason Point?”
“Yes,” he said, nodding and pointing to Slip A. “Departs at 9:15.”
— Pamela Horitani
Illustrated by Agnes Lee. Read more Metropolitan Diary here.
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