New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday that he plans to welcome 700,000 students back to school buildings for in-person instruction for the start of the academic year in September, an extraordinary announcement that comes while other big cities plan for remote learning as the pandemic continues to rack the nation.

The city is home to the nation’s largest public school system, serving more than a million children, and is being closely watched by education leaders as it prepares to open its doors. Under the plan, approved by the state this week, students who opted for in-person instruction will still do much of their learning virtually and will only head to classrooms on certain days to prevent crowding in classrooms and hallways.

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