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The outlook for public schools in New York

Weather: Rather cloudy with a maximum in the 1960s. There is a slight chance of showers this afternoon and throughout the evening. Tonight will be partly cloudy and in the 50’s.

Parking on the alternate side: In force until April 29 (Maundy Thursday, Orthodox).

Temporary closures may soon be less common in New York City public schools.

So far, school buildings have closed for 10 days when two unrelated coronavirus cases have been detected, regardless of the source of the infection.

But on Thursday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new policy: from next week, schools can remain open unless there are four or more confirmed cases in separate classrooms within a period of time. seven days. The city’s contact tracing program is also to determine that infections occurred inside a school before it closed for 10 days.

I asked my colleague Eliza Shapiro, who covers education in New York City, about the change – and the general outlook for public schools. Here’s a edited version of our conversation:

Q: How did the previous school closure rule affect parents and educators?

A: The previous rule applied to the school buildings themselves. So you could have had a college with two cases on one floor and an elementary school with zero cases on the lower floor – and both schools would have to close.

Over the past month or so, there has been this drumbeat of frustration and anger from families who felt the rule was incredibly disruptive to them. And a lot of educators didn’t like it either, in terms of going over distance and in person..

Now they are focusing on individual schools rather than buildings. [Read more about the other changes.]

Q: The deadline for families to opt for in-person classes instead of distance learning today is. What could the rest of this school year contain?

We don’t know how many families will eventually join. But from what the mayor said, we can expect it to be in the tens of thousands.

This will mean something different in each school: in some, many more students might come back five days a week. But in others, these numbers would be lower because the overall space is less.

A shift in focus on social distancing could also impact the outlook for some grade levels.

Q: And what about the fall?

The mayor tried to put his stake in the ground, claiming that we are going to have a school year as close as possible from September.. And if the vaccinations continue and the virus variants don’t change the game, it’s very likely.

Q: What are the other obstacles to a full reopening?

A big question will be, what do security protocols look like? Most children will not be vaccinated and we will have to think about what virus testing, physical distance and socialization mean now.

There are also still many families who have real concerns about sending their children away, even in the fall, which the city will need to address.

Hundreds of people are again without house days after a fire broke out at their apartment complex in Jackson Heights, Queens. [CBS New York]

Melissa Guerrero of The Times writes:

Although many performance spaces, museums and community centers are closed, people are finding creative ways to connect through virtual events and programs. Here are some suggestions for maintaining a New York social life this weekend while keeping a safe distance from others.

Visit West Harlem Arts’ new ‘Resilience’ exhibit, which commemorates the work and resilience of visual artists in West Harlem and surrounding neighborhoods during the pandemic.

Explore the exhibit on the website.

Watch a screening of short films on mental health, directed by young filmmakers, on Friday at 6 p.m. Participants can attend the Q. and A post-screening.

RSVP is free on the event page.

At Sunday at 10 a.m., in honor of Earth Day later this month, learn how to make recycled seed paper plantable with wildflower seeds.

Register on the event page.

It’s Friday – enjoy the weekend!

Dear Diary:

It was two days after my 28th birthday and in the middle of a snowstorm in February 2017. I went to a meeting and after, the rest of the day being stopped due to the weather, I stopped in Veselka for drink coffee and eat at the counter.

I struck up a conversation with a young man who was seated to my left. He said he was about to embark on a nine-hour bicycle courier service.

He had a thin mustache and blonde Kurt Cobain hair and was dressed all in black. Undressed, really, with just a leather motorcycle jacket as your only defense against the relentless snow. He ordered challah french toast, easy eggs and kielbasa.

“My family continues to send me pictures of my home in Florida,” he said.

“But do you want to be in Florida?” I asked.

“Damn, no,” he replied.

A woman came in and sat down to my right. She ordered borscht and told me she had been coming there for 30 years. The slice of bread that came with the soup was twice as thick, she said.

We talked about politics and mindfulness and being oddly drawn to men while ovulating. She told me that B&H Dairy had vegetarian liver on the menu in 1974.

She said she had an older dog who sometimes woke her up too early. She said she was trying hard to live in the moment. One day the dog would be gone, she said, and she would curse the days she now took for granted.

She thought the messenger on the bike and I were related.

“It’s your brother? she asked, smiling. “Your little brother?

“Oh, no,” I say. “We are all here by chance.”

– Marilyn Haines

New York Today is published on weekdays around 6 a.m. register here to get it by e-mail. You can also find it on

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