Thousands of middle school students, teachers head back to in-person learning in NYC

Thousands of middle school teachers and more than 60,000 sixth through eighth grade students came back for in-person learning starting Thursday.
Mayor Bill de Blasio first announced the reopening a few weeks ago along with Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza. Carranza said vaccinating teachers and adding weekly COVID-19 testing units leading up to today has been a top priority.
While the majority of middle school students have chosen to stay fully remote, Carranza said half of middle schools will be in person five days a week while the remainder will be hybrid learning. He added that all schools will follow coronavirus safety protocols from social distancing to a mask requirement.
The chancellor said they've encouraged teachers to get vaccinated with around 30,000 school employees already having had at least one shot of the vaccine so far.
All public high school students will still be fully remote, though the mayor says he will have an announcement about their reopening soon.
The mayor and the schools chancellor toured the Leaders of Tomorrow Middle School in the Bronx to welcome back students and parents Thursday morning.
The reopening of the middle schools impacted five of the city's Department of Health vaccine hubs that functioned in school buildings. The department says these sites were moved to new locations.