NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York City public schools will return to all in-person learning in September, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday.

Students will not have an option to learn remotely, CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge reported.

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COVID is plummeting in this city, I’m happy to say. We’re almost at eight million vaccination doses since day one. And it’s just amazing to see the forward motion right now, the recovery that’s happening in New York City,” de Blasio said in an interview. “But you can’t have a full recovery without full strength schools.”

For the first time in 18 months, 1 million kids will be back in classes at full capacity.

Watch Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Monday, May 24, 2021 Press Conference

On the Upper West Side, a few parents at PS 199 told Duddridge they’re hesitant for various reasons, including the fact that their kids are too young to get vaccinated. But most were relieved and ready.

“Very excited. I think the kids need it and we need it, as parents,” said Roseline Buchwald.

“I don’t have to be in front on my screen and my head won’t hurt while I’m studying,” said Claudia, a 4th grader.

Jackson, a 2nd grader, could not hide his excitement. Jackson didn’t like studying at home.

“You couldn’t see your friends, you couldn’t really do anything,” he said.

His father agreed.

“Nobody suffered as much as they did. The kids need to be in school five days a week, all day because, their genetic makeup is to learn communal,” said Joseph DeGeorges.

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Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter celebrated the news with students at New Bridges Elementary School in Crown Heights.

Nearly 400,000 students returned to the classroom throughout the current school year, but roughly 600,000 are still learning remotely.

“Very important, we’re so glad. We also want to be on the safe side,” said Oriona Dicaro.

To ease concerns, schools will open for tours in June to show how they’re preparing for the fall.

“Masks will be required and we will continue to follow the CDC social distancing guidelines,” Ross Porter said.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

The United Federation of Teachers released a statement after the mayor’s announcement, saying the union wants “as many students back in school as safely possible,” but added that a “remote option may still be necessary” for students with “extreme medical challenges.”

Questions are swirling about a possible vaccine mandate for school kids. Gov. Andrew Cuomo seemed to be leaning toward not having a mandate, but hasn’t ruled it out.

“Remember, we mandated the measles vaccine about two years ago, where there was an uptick in measles. And it was very controversial. You have some people who never sent their child back to school because they’re against the vaccine,” Cuomo said.

Children as young as 12 years old are currently eligible for the COVID vaccine. Younger children could be eligible in the fall.

The first day of the new school year is September 13.

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New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy already announced schools will be fully in-person this fall. Connecticut schools are not required to offer remote learning come September.

Natalie Duddridge