September 13, 2021
Mayor Bill de Blasio: Everybody, it is happening. School is back in New York City.
Look at these beautiful kids ready for school again. Are you ready?
Everybody, so good to be here at P. S. 25. It's so good to see all our kids coming back to school in person where they can learn best, where they can be with their friends, where they can be with the teachers and the staff who care for them, love them, and do so much for them. This is a really powerful moment. I've been talking to parents. Parents are ready too. Parents are ready for their kids to be back in school.
A lot of relieved parents out there.
So, here's what it comes down to. We've been through so much, but I got to say everybody in our school communities fought through. I want to give my profound thanks to the principals, to the teachers, the custodians, the bus drivers, the people who provide the food, the people who did everything in our schools to keep them safe for our kids. And our vaccinators, our Test and Trace Corps who made this the safest public school system in America. And it's going to be again. Kids coming to school today, all across the city, are going to experience a gold standard of health and safety measures. And as everyone knows, in the coming days every single adult in our schools is going to be vaccinated. Over two thirds of our kids, 12 to 17 years old, vaccinated. So, so many good things are happening to move us forward. And it's because people pulled together because we care about our kids. This is a city where people really stepped up to take care of the children that we cherish. So, this is a joyous, joyous day. This is a day we've been dreaming of, a day we've been waiting for. The day is finally here.
And I want to thank Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. for being with us to help make it special.
Soon-to-be Borough President Vanessa Gibson, Principal Raquel Pevey –
Superintendent Rafael Alvarez and CEC President Hakiem Yahmadi, everyone who works so hard to get us to this day. But I'll tell you one thing, no one put more heart and soul and passion into getting school ready and getting school open than our Chancellor. And if Danielle stopped talking to her, I could introduce her. Thank you. Our Chancellor, who has done an amazing, amazing job, getting school ready for over a million students. My great pleasure to introduce the Bronx’s own, Meisha Ross Porter.
Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter: What an honor to be here and to be home in the Bronx, flanked by my borough presidents, by the elected officials who've been great partners. Thank you, Mr. Mayor, for believing in me and our ability to get to this moment. I've been working for this day since the day I became chancellor of New York City public schools. And as a parent, as a New York City public school student teacher leader, this moment is what we've been all working for. This moment of bringing our students back to in-person learning in the places where they are loved by their principals and superintendents and teachers and parents, and the whole school community is wrapped around them. And it's very fitting that we're here in District 7 at P. S. 25, where our historic 3-K initiative was launched. And we are welcoming back those very same 3-K students today in person as they enter second grade.
Today would not be possible without so many people. First of all, our teachers, thank you for all you did, all you will do, all you continue to do. Our principals, thank you for your leadership in this very trying moment. Our custodians, our facilities teams, who've made our building safe and clean and created amazing ventilation. Our nurses, our cafeteria workers who fed so many families throughout the pandemic. Our crossing guards who were out in the streets throughout the pandemic. There are so many people – our school safety agents who never left the buildings, our social workers, our guidance counselors. So many people, our school nurses, the team that just stepped up. So many people to thank, so many people are responsible for this moment. This is a tremendous day for all of New York City. And I am the biggest cheerleader for the system.
So, I'll be in the Bronx today, heading to Queens later, covering the rest of the boroughs this week, because I want to spend a day in each borough watching the excitement of homecoming. And now forgive a former principal and teacher because I have a job to do. And it's to make sure that everyone does their homework. And everyone probably already knows what the homework is, but if you don't, let's be clear, get vaccinated. Vaccinations are our passport out of this pandemic. Vaccinations are our key to recovery and it's our responsibility in this moment to not just protect ourselves, but to protect our community and protect the babies who can't get vaccinated.
So, it is my pleasure to be here today. You have no idea what an amazing leader we have in Principal Pevey. I've been trying to make her a principal for so long, but it was the right place and the right time, in this moment at P. S. 25 in District 7. I also sent my own daughter off to school this morning. And so, she's headed into the 11th grade. So, parents, we are in this together. This is our moment. This is our time for our babies. A message to all of the families that are dropping off your children at school today, bringing them to bus stops, or if they're older, they were, you know, too cool to be seen with you – I had to sneak a picture before my daughter left – I'm waving at you all from a distance wishing you an amazing first day. Your babies are safe with us because they're our babies. They're our children. This is our time. This is our city. And with that, I'm going to turn it over to the amazing Principal Pevey.