New York City public schools will be temporarily closed starting Thursday after the rate of COVID-19 cases hit 3 percent over a seven-day period.
The announcement was made by Mayor Bill de Blasio via social media at 2:30 p.m.
“So much good work has been put into keeping these schools open and opening up to begin with,” de Blasio said. “We set a clear standard and we need to stick to it. I want to emphasize to parents, educators, staff and kids that we intend to come back and come back as quickly as possible. We are working right now with the state of New York.”
An emphasis on testing will be part of the standards that reopen the schools. More details will be given in the next few days.
Before the mayor’s announcement, Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza sent an email to public school principals telling them schools will be closed.
“The mayor and I have been clear-eyed since the beginning that we needed to get students back into classrooms as soon as it was safe,” Carranza said. “And we carry that same urgency with us today as we announce this temporary closure. We will get students back in buildings as soon as we can, safely.”
Carranza also said the city will communicate with families about device support and tips for remote learning. Free meals for all students will still be available.
City Council Education Chairman Mark Treyger said 100,000 city students will be unable to shift to remote learning because they still do not have a remote learning device or reliable internet.
“After months of being in denial, City Hall ordered additional devices only recently and they still haven’t come in,” Treyger said.
“All the people want – all they ever asked for – is a clear, unified message from their leaders during an unprecedented health emergency,” said Councilmember Justin Brannan. “This shouldn’t be so difficult.”