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New York moves

Schools Reopening: amid the re-emergence of Covid-19 situations, European countries such as France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Ireland, and Italy have kept schools open while limiting public life.

At a time when Covid-19 incidents in the United States are escalating dramatically and deaths have been at their peak rate since April, New York City—which has the country’s biggest school system—will be reopening primary and pre-kindergarten schools in the second week of December. District 75 schools serving students with special educational needs are now expected to reopen.

Why is New York City re-opening elementary schools? What sort of steps is being taken?

When declaring the reopening of elementary public schools on 7 December—only 11 days after the closing of all classrooms—Mayor Bill de Blasio quoted research showing “young children appear to be less vulnerable to Covid-19.” “This is a new approach because we now have so much evidence of how safe schools can be, and this has come from real-life experience in America’s largest school system,” De Blasio said to reporters.

How have schools re-opened in European countries?

Despite seeing a re-emergence in Covid-19 incidents, European countries such as the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Ireland, and Italy have kept schools and childcare centers open while closing down bars and regulating public life, pubs, theatres, concert halls, gyms, and tattoo parlors.

What’s the situation in India?

On 15 October, as part of its Unlock 5 guidelines, the Home Ministry allowed senior students in Classes 9 to 12 to visit their teachers in schools on a voluntary basis and left the opening of schools to the discretion of state governments. Education and Home Ministries have categorically confirmed that students will not be required to attend school and that they will be allowed to attend classes online.

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