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Puerto Rico Delays Start of Classes Amid Renewed COVID-19 Surge

SAN JUAN — Puerto Rico’s governor announced Wednesday that he will delay the start of classes at public schools by two weeks and recommended private schools do the same as the U.S. territory grapples with a 36% positivity rate.

The public school year is scheduled to resume Jan. 24, with Gov. Pedro Pierluisi stressing that all those working in the education sector are required to have their booster shot by January 15. In addition, schoolchildren age 5 and older are required to have at least their first dose by January10.

Some 97 percent of teachers are vaccinated, although only 40 percent have boosters. Meanwhile, more than 40 percent of children ages five to 11 are vaccinated.

Pierluisi said special education therapies are scheduled to start January 18.

The island of 3.3 million people has reported more than 201,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 3,300 deaths. Nearly 85% of people have received their first dose and some 70% their second one, although officials have urged people to obtain their booster, noting that only less than 40% have done so.

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