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De Blasio Says New York City Schools Preparing For 'Maximum Number' Of Students To Return In September, 'Full Steam Ahead'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – New York City schools are preparing for the "maximum number" of students to return in September, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday.

"We're full steam ahead for September," he said. "The goal, of course, to have the maximum number of kids in our schools as we begin schools."

According to a Department of Education survey that collected responses from more than 450,000 families, 75% say they want their children to go back to school in September.

Jeehae Lee, a mother of two, told CBS2's Hazel Sanchez she has mixed emotions.

"Certainly I want them to see their friends. I want them to have social interaction," said Lee. "I want them to go back to some sort of normalcy, but at the same time does that mean at the expense of health?"

Mayor de Blasio said:

  • All students and staff will be required to wear face masks, and masks will be provided free to anyone who does not have one.
  • Strict social distancing rules will be in place.
  • There will be hand washing stations throughout the buildings.
  • Schools will be deep cleaned daily.

Mara Seltzer, a mother of two, said she's doubtful kids will follow the guidelines.

"They're not gonna have enough resources to control that level of interaction and make sure they're six feet apart. I just don't think it's realistic that you're gonna be able to get kids to behave in this manner at all," said Seltzer.


Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza met with school principals Thursday to discuss reopening plans, which are not one size fits all.

Mayor de Blasio said some schools are large enough to bring all students back, while schools with less space could have staggered schedules.

"So what happens if they go to staggered schedules, but my two children are on different schedules? Then that does not help us at all," said Lee.

That question brings up issues for working parents wondering about childcare and how students will get to school safely.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The entire reopening plan must be approved by the state. In a statement, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office said, "The Governor has said any determination is premature at this point and we will need to see how the virus develops."

That means there's a chance children will still be learning from home.

WATCH: Mayor De Blasio Delivers Thursday's Press Briefing 

On Thursday, de Blasio also said 2.62 miles of the city's open streets will be dedicated for outdoor dining on Friday nights and weekends starting this week.

Alternate side parking will be suspended next week through July 12.

Also starting Monday, the Staten Island Ferry will resume 15-minute rush hour service.

Finally, the mayor said the city will spend $80 million to help rebuild the Chinatown community center that went up in flames back in January.

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