Following an agreement reached between City Hall and the largest union representing New York City teachers, the Department of Education has released its academic calendar for the 2020-21 school year.
A three-day transitional period of remote instruction for students will begin on Wednesday, Sept. 16. The following Monday, Sept. 21, the school buildings open "full strength" for blended learning.
This year's calendar includes the typical national holidays, parent-teacher conferences, early release days, and breaks between semesters. New this year: students will be instructed fully remote on Election Day, Nov. 3.
The release of the school year calendar was significantly delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Up until last week, school administrators and DOE staff were still finalizing safety protocols for students and faculty.
Electrostatic cleaning, social distancing, mask mandates and a host of other measures that had already been discussed will remain in place going forward. Certified nurses will also be present in every single school, the mayor says, and there will be a well-stocked supply of PPE.
Even with the strict inspections and other safety precautions, some parents still have concerns over whether it's safe to start in person right now. As of Tuesday, more than a third -- 37 percent -- of families with children in public schools opted out of the default hybrid model, with 366,553 requests made for all-remote learning.
The city will make free testing available every month at every school in a way that "maximizes the ease" of getting tested, Mayor Bill de Blasio has said. That will be part of a "rigorous" monthly medical monitoring program where 10 to 20 percent of students and staff at every school are tested each month, with results within 48 hours. Kids will be given a more gentle swab test, rather than the more uncomfortable nasal passage test.