Councilman Joseph Borelli (R-South Shore) said he would "keep pushing" his two pending lawsuits to make sure schools fully reopen five days a week for the families who request it - shortly after Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Sunday that preschool, elementary and District 75 special education students would return to school buildings starting next week amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
With 1.1 million students, the largest public school system in the country closed two weeks ago as confirmed cases of the coronavirus spiked in the city.
Students will be randomly tested every week and parents will be required to sign a consent form for every student that will take in-person classes, he added.
The New York Times writes of the presser and plan that "Mr.de Blasio's announcement on Sunday reflects a stark departure from the city's original approach to managing the schools during the outbreak".
"I'm very confident our lawsuit will ultimately prevail if it is necessary, children have a state constitutional right to public school in New York", Borelli said.
De Blasio said Sunday the city is working with the state to discuss a way to reopen schools in orange and red zones.
We will have testing that is going to go from monthly in every school to weekly in every school.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks to the media during a press conference at City Hall on January 3, 2020 in New York City.
The mayor said the plan was to have in-person learning five days a week where possible when schools reopen. But young people are not immune and school districts have implemented a host of social distancing and other measures to protect students, teachers and other staff.
Students in 3K, Pre-K and grades K-5 can resume in-person classes on December 7, said de Blasio.
Under the new plan, preschoolers and students up to fifth grade will return to classrooms December 7.
Mark Cannizzaro, the president of the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, which represents principals, said school leaders "deeply understand the need for children to learn in person as regularly as possible, so long as all safety protocols are based on the guidance of medical professionals". "Our schools never should have closed, and we are thrilled that 190,000 kids will be back in school next week", the group said in a statement. "We will not rest until they are back in school, where they need to be".
New York City exceeded the 3% threshold early in November, and things have slightly worsened since then.
Rates of positive coronavirus tests at school sites have remained low, however.
Almost 300,000 students are eligible to return to school, according to de Blasio.