NEW YORK — Thousands of city public school students will soon be able to return to in-person classes at the end of the month.

The city Department of Education on Monday announced middle schools will welcome back students on Thursday, February 25, one day after staff return to the buildings.

But in-person learning only applies to the 62,000 students who signed up it during one of the opt-in periods earlier this year.

"Our public schools coming back strong is going to be one of the foundations of everything that happens going forward," said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

"Our educators have done an incredible job supporting students remotely, but as we've said from the beginning, nothing can replace in-person learning and the support our students receive in person. We're so thrilled to be able to provide that," said Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza.

In the coming weeks, city officials say that the schools are focused on safely preparing classrooms and getting staff vaccinated. 

Once they reopen, the schools will be conducting weekly testing. 

Both middle and high schools have been closed since November after the citywide COVID-19 infection rate surpassed three percent. 

There is still no timeline for reopening high schools.

For parents and guardians looking to enroll their children in 3K and Pre-K For All, applications open February 24.

To apply, go to or call 718-935-2009.