Published: Aug 10, 2011 4:20 PM EDT

NEW YORK (AP) - Mandatory sex-education classes are returning to New York City public schools for the first time in nearly two decades.
    
The New York Times (http://nyti.ms/nwxKG8 ) reports that middle and high school students will be required to take sex-education classes beginning this year.
    
The curriculum includes lessons on how to use a condom and the appropriate age for sexual activity.
    
The new mandate calls for students to take one semester of sex education in 6th or 7th grade, and again in 9th or 10th grade. Children as young as 11 will participate in discussions on topics like pregnancy and the risks of unprotected sex.
    
Parents will be able to have their children opt out of the lessons on birth-control methods.
    
The classes can be incorporated into existing health education courses.

(Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)