By MARWA IKHMAYES
On Thursday, Mayor De Blasio announced that the city will put more work towards providing a healthy and safe environment for kids and staff members as schools open up on Sept. 13.
“We have a lot ahead in these coming days in so many fronts of the city,” the mayor said, adding that “this is a very important time for the city, a very important time for our recovery from Covid, a very important time as we fight back.”
Over 65 percent of 12- to 16-year-olds have gotten vaccinated through the course of summer, the mayor said. “We expect that number to go up a lot in the coming days,” as new vaccination sites open at every school across the city of New York, the mayor added.
The sites will be open for the whole first week of school and will open again the week of October 4, for second doses.
De Blasio said, “Our kids need to be in school, and it’s unbelievable that some kids haven’t seen the inside of a classroom for a year and a half. There are massive consequences to that, including healthcare consequences. The healthiest, best place for kids to be (is) in school.”
Dr. Lee Beers, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, talked about the importance of an innovative partnership between health and education. “In-person learning is important for children and teens,” Beers said.
Beers said that beyond vaccinations, the city needs to focus on “universal masking for children over two and adults, symptom screening, and testing.”
Beginning on Sept. 27, staff with city contracted childcare agencies will have to show proof of vaccination, with at least one dose.
Monday, Sept. 13, indoor venues around the city, including gyms, indoor bars, restaurants, museums, and theaters, will require a vaccination card before entry.
“Next week, after a month of education, supporting restaurants, helping them get ready, and all the other indoor entertainment, we are going to start implementing the law more fully, and enforcement will begin on Monday,” de Blasio said.
Melba Wilson, a business owner in Harlem and one of the leading voices and leaders at vaccination campaigns, encourages community members to get vaccinated. Wilson said, “What’s most important in our community is that people see that we are you, and you are us. There is no way in the world we would recommend that you do something that we thought would hurt you.”
As of now, 71 percent of adults in New York City are fully vaccinated.