Mayor welcomes back many NYC students returning to in-person learning

Many New York City students returned to class Monday for in-person learning.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and the schools chancellor welcomed students back into the classroom at P.S. 5 in Melrose, the Bronx. However, some parents say they were anxious about the reopening.
Arielle Pezold's fourth-grade son came back to the classroom at P.S. 197 in Midwood, Brooklyn after being remote for the entire school year. She says she feels forced to bring him back to school, since it's mandatory for students to show up for in-person learning to keep their spot in class.
"It's been really hard…I woke up at 3 a.m. and worried that my kid was gonna get COVID," Pezold says. "They're forcing our hand to say it's either now you go back to school for the rest of the year, so we're being forced back now."
About 190 students showed up to the first day back at P.S. 197. All parents and guardians had to sign off on randomized COVID-19 testing.
Students in 3K, pre-K and kindergarten are exempt from getting a COVID-19 test. All other students from first grade and up participate in the testing program.
There are some exceptions to opt-out of testing. Parents can fill out an exemption form if their child has a health condition or a student has a disability.
There were multiple points of entries for students when they arrived at P.S. 197, and students were divided by grade entering the school. This was all to eliminate people gathering in close proximity to one another.
Still, parents like Pezold believe the mayor should have held off reopening.
"Everything is coming up all of the holidays... it's just increased risk," she says. "I just think it's really unwise to start the school year now. I think they should have waited until after the holidays."
Students in District 75 schools will start in-person classes later this week. Those students are also required to participate in the testing program.