New York City Mayor Eric Adams Monday insisted the city's schools will remain open, even as omicron-variant COVID numbers continue to climb, as they are the "safest place for our children" to be.
"We all know a child must be in school for so many reasons, not only for socialization but when children were at home, we saw an increase in attempts to suicide," Adams, who was sworn in just after the ball dropped at midnight on New Year's Eve in Times Square, said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "My children are going to be in school. I am keeping my schools opened, and we are going to make sure they're going to be in a safe place."
The effort will include doubling the amount of testing, said Adams, noting that his team was able to get over 1.5 million test kits out to the city's schools last week.
And even if there is a shortage in staffing, the city's schools will "adjust and pivot" based on the numbers.
"We'll have a real-time update of our command center of where, when you see a drop in staff, we'll draw from our pool of employees who are waiting," he said. "We'll deploy where it is needed. We'll hit the streets for people who are paying for the PRR [COVID] test. We'll hand them kits.
"We'll teach New Yorkers how to do self-test at home so they can start engaging for themselves. We have to live with COVID and modify our behavior because if another variant comes out, what are we going to do? We spent $11 trillion on COVID. We don't have another $11 trillion."
New York City's residents, he added, will "see ourselves through the storm."
"We spent so much time wallowing in the moment of the storm," he said. "We are fighting from a place of victory. We would get through this just as we got through the Great Depression, Pearl Harbor, and 9/11, you go through the list.
"If you see yourself through the storm, you will be fine. I have lived through a lot of tragedies but I won't wallow in that place, I know there is something on the other side of COVID. We'll be better and prepared as the future is in front of us. I am going to lead the city through this. We'll be fine."
Adams, a former New York City police captain, on Monday also insisted that he'll be working to restore law and order, and that includes restoring confidence in the city's subway system.
That got put to the test on Monday, his first day at work in his new office when he called 911 to report an assault. "If I see something, I do something," he said. "If someone is having a fight on the street, I am going to call to make sure they are safe. This is a natural transition of my life and now during this difficult time, I am ready to lead the city forward."
But when people are afraid to use the subway to go to work or school, there will be a "major slowdown in economic recovery," said Adams.
Police will be partnered with mental health professionals through the subway system to give people the help they need, he added, as "that's the combination that we are going to need to turn our subway system around."
Meanwhile, Adams insisted that he's neither progressive nor conservative, but that he'll use his life experience to help the city, and that he's assembled "smart, intelligent and committed, and compassionate people" to serve in his administration.
"Every one of my appointees, if you talk to them, they went through a lot," said Adams. "They're going to understand what it's like for people that are going through a lot. That's the quality that we'll bring through governing."
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