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Dept. Of Education Releases 'Return To School Roadmap' For Safe, In-Person Learning; NYC Urging Students, Staff To Be Fully Vaccinated By Sept. 13

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- With the new school year rapidly approaching, the U.S. Department of Education on Monday released a "Return to School Roadmap" for communities to safely reenter the classroom.

CBS2's Hazel Sanchez explains how the new COVID-19 guidelines will help keep students and staff safe at school.

11-year-old Isaiah Noveck, a rising 6th grader, is ready to get back to school.

"I'm excited to have more, I don't know, room to explore new things," Isaiah said.

While he's been enjoying his summer vacation, the coronavirus hasn't taken a break.

Federal education officials laid out a roadmap, a guide for school leaders, teachers and students to safely return to in-person learning.

"If it's safe for everybody, I think they should open up full-time," said Josias Castillo, a parent.

The plan focuses on three goals:

  1. Accelerate academic achievement.
  2. Support students' social, emotional and mental health.
  3. Prioritize the health and safety of the entire school community - with a big vaccination push for staff and qualified students.

"We have some homework for all of our students who are eligible to get the vaccine. Get vaccinated!" said New York City Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter.

The city's education and health departments are teaming up to encourage parents to get students fully vaccinated by the first day of school on September 13.

August 9 is the last day for New York City Public Schools students and staff to get the two-dose Pfizer vaccine and be fully vaccinated by the first day of school.

Mobile vaccination sites are opening at shopping centers and schools in the city. Anyone 12 and older is eligible to be vaccinated.


"We will be calling every New York City family to make sure they know their vaccination options and to offer fast, easy, at-home vaccination," Porter said.

If COVID numbers continue to rise, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he'll consider mandating K-12 teachers be fully vaccinated.

The state teachers union said it does not support a mandate. But many parents and students do.

"I think for everyone's safety, that teachers should be vaccinated," said Rebecca Noveck, a parent.

11-year-old Ethan Castillo agrees.

"Because they could carry COVID and it could spread, and kids could carry COVID to their parents," he said.

That's a lesson on the potential spread of the virus that families don't want to learn the hard way.

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