Mayor Eric Adams says kids safe in school despite virus surge

The new mayor insisted Monday that New York City public schools would open for in-person learning despite an omicron-fueled surge in COVID-19 infections, saying administrative staffers would pinch-hit for absent teachers.

"The safest place for children is in a school building," Democrat Eric Adams said on FOX 5's Good Day New York.

Adams' predecessor, Bill de Blasio, announced a plan last week to reopen schools after the holiday break with increased surveillance COVID-19 testing and at-home COVID-19 tests sent home with students who have an infected classmate.

Get breaking news alerts in the free FOX5NY News app!  |  Sign up for FOX 5 email newsletters

Adams, who took office on Saturday, said the plan will ensure that students are safe.

The United Federation of Teachers has asked Adams to postpone in-person learning for a week to assess potential staffing shortages given the rise in COVID-19 cases across the city and the nation.

UFT President Michael Mulgrew told Good Day New York that is a major concern.

"We do not have enough substitutes to fill in all the blanks," Mulgrew said.  "We're looking between 20-30 percent absenteeism and that's something we do not have the substitutes to cover that.

"This is going to be a very tough week," Mulgrew added.

The city Department of Education website listed eight schools that were closed because of the virus, out of about 1,700.

With the Associated Press.