Mayor de Blasio says he's sticking to his guidelines for closing schools: If at least 3% of all coronavirus tests come back positive over seven days, all students will learn remotely.
But he's suggesting the rate may not have to fall below 3% to reopen the schools.
"We set a standard. We asked everyone to trust it and believe in it. It's important to keep consistency with that. If we surpass that standard, and that is not a given, but if we do, then the conversation we're having with the state is how to quickly come back at what it's going to take,” the mayor said during his daily coronavirus briefing.
The seven-day average of positive coronavirus tests stood at 2.77% Monday.
Hours before the mayor spoke, Governor Andrew Cuomo suggested allowing some individual schools to reopen, even if the citywide positive rate remains above 3%.
"If the school is below a certain threshold, let that school reopen, but the parents and the teachers have to agree. There is no fiat here. If the parents don't agree, they don't send their child, doesn't matter. If the teachers don't agree, they don't come into the school, you don't have a classroom,” he said during an appearance on MSNBC.
The mayor says he's open to taking an approach like the governor proposed, which was used to reopen some schools in coronavirus hotspots around the state.
“That model could make a lot of sense here. We're obviously going to talk it through with the state, as the governor said this morning, and I've said, we need to keep a bond of trust with parents, with educators, with staff," he said.
But the city teachers' union says no options for reopening schools should be considered until there's a downward citywide trend in positive test results.
"We would have to see a trend rate going down over a period of time, perhaps seven to 10 days, and then we could get back to live, in-person instruction,” union president Michael Mulgrew said during an appearance on NY1’s “Mornings on 1.”
It's less clear what the consensus among families might be.
Only 280,000 of the system's 1 million students have chosen blended learning, a mix of in school and remote learning. The remaining students enrolled in all-remote instruction.
Parents had until Sunday to decide whether to opt their children in to blended learning for the rest of the school year. The mayor says those new enrollment numbers will be released this week.