According to the CDC, students can safely sit just three feet apart in the classroom, as long as they are wearing masks, but should be kept the usual six feet apart from each other at sporting events, assemblies, lunch or chorus practice. Officials also emphasized that adults and teachers should remain six feet away from other adults as well as students.
The announcement comes just days before the city's high schools are expected to reopen on March 22. Roughly 55,000 high school students who have opted-in are expected to return to the classroom, along with 17,000 staff members.
In a press conference Friday, de Blasio also announced that the families of students in Pre-K through elementary school who had previously opted for their children to learn remotely can change their learning model.
"Next week an opt-in period will begin," de Blasio said. "Our goal as always is to have as many kids in school as we can do appropriately, safely, smartly."
In a statement, UFT President Michael Mulgrew responded to the announcement, saying: "As educators, we plan before we go to work each day. But as usual, this mayor has come out with another proclamation without any plan or authority to proceed. We will wait for NYS to weigh in as we continue to do the real work of keeping our school communities safe."
All across New York, businesses have been seeing their capacity limits increase, with all restaurants in New York outside of New York City able to open up their dining rooms at 75% capacity, while Connecticut is returning to full capacity for all businesses.
New Jersey will also let restaurants and some businesses expand their indoor capacity to 50% beginning Friday.
This is a developing story. Stay with FOX 5 NY for more information.
Get breaking news alerts in the FOX5NY News app. Download for FREE!