The biggest issue in schools is the severe absence of students after the holidays

By Ariama C. Long
Report for America Corps Member

Mayor Eric Adams and Schools Chancellor David Banks have met their first real test as leaders of one of the nation’s largest school systems during a pandemic, and more recently, an attendance crisis. Adams resolutely said that schools would remain open at Tuesday morning’s briefing.

“Our schools are open,” said Adams. “We were clear from the beginning, and I don’t want anyone to get this mixed up. Our schools are going to remain open. We are not going to do anything that is going to stop our children from coming into schools.”

So far about 16 million doses of vaccines and 2.5 million booster shots have been administered citywide, and officials are noticing a decline in the Omicron wave of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Commissioner Dave Chokshi with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said that the city is on the “downslope from the Omicron Summit” with the seven-day average of daily new cases being under 20,000.

However, the biggest issue in schools was really the severe absence of students after the holidays. As of last week, the Department of Education (DOE) revealed there was an overall 23% absence rate, reported the New York Post.

Despite the mass exodus of students, Adams maintained that there would be no move to total remote learning except in certain cases.

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