To encourage young people to get COVID vaccines before the first day of school on Sept. 13, the city is opening 25 pop-up vaccination sites at Summer Rising programs starting Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Friday.
The sites will rotate across different schools participating in Summer Rising, running from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Aug. 13. All minors will need verbal consent from a parent at the time of the shot, either in-person or over the phone, and students 15 and under must be accompanied by an adult in order to receive the shot.
So far, more than 226,000 of New York City’s 12- to 17-year-olds — roughly 43% — have gotten at least one dose of the COVID vaccine, de Blasio said on WNYC’s Brian Lehrer show. City officials are hopeful that by making vaccines more readily available to students, rates of vaccination will increase before schools reopen. But time is running out. The new school year is about seven weeks away, and the current two-dose vaccine takes about five weeks to take full effect after the first shot.
The announcement comes just days after the city stipulated that starting in August, workers in city-run hospitals and health clinics must get vaccinated or get tested weekly. Those who fail to do so will be suspended without pay.
On Friday, the mayor did not go so far as to extend that mandate to other city workers, but he suggested that residents can expect to see more mandates in the future. Roughly 60% of education department employees have at least one dose of the vaccine. That figure does not include those who live or were vaccinated outside of the five boroughs, according to city officials.
“I’ve been very explicit about the fact that this is the beginning, and we are going to climb up the ladder of measures to address the situation,” the mayor said, adding that announcements will be made “piece by piece.” He also encouraged private employers to issue their own mandates.
Over the past two weeks, the Delta variant of the virus has driven an uptick in the number of COVID cases in the city. Health department data shows an average of 668 cases per day for the past seven days, an over 200% increase from the average two weeks ago. But the hospitalization rate remains relatively low at 0.49% per 100,000 city residents over a seven-day average, according to public data.
According to the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, masked students who are three to six feet apart in an indoor setting are no longer considered “close contacts,” and are therefore not required to quarantine after a student tests positive. But the city is currently continuing its policy of shutting down classrooms for 10 days if one or more students in a class tests positive. Currently, 153 classroom closures are in effect across the roughly 12,000 Summer Rising classrooms, according to de Blasio.
De Blasio indicated that the city may revisit the quarantine policy before the next school year begins.
“We have believed that was a smart approach to date,” he said. “But Summer Rising is a transitional moment, and what we will do in the fall is a whole different reality.”
For the week of July 26, here are the school-based pop-up sites and days:
Brooklyn: Fort Hamilton High School (Monday, Tuesday)
Bronx: Herbert H. Lehman High School (Tuesday, Wednesday)
Manhattan: Health Professions High School (Thursday, Friday)
Queens: Long Island City High School (Thursday, Friday)
Staten Island: Susan E. Wagner High School (Wednesday, Thursday)
The full schedule of vaccination sites is available on the education department website.