NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio Shutting Schools Thursday As COVID-19 Infection Rate Rises

New York City schools are closing for in-person learning starting tomorrow as the COVID-19 infection rate in NYC approaches 3%, a shutdown threshold previously agreed upon by the city, teachers and parents.

The chancellor of the nation’s largest school district — which has been open in person for two months — broke the news in an email to principals Wednesday.

“As of this morning, November 18, the City has now reached this threshold of test positivity citywide and, as a result, the DOE will temporarily close down all public school buildings for in-person learning, Thursday, November 19,” he wrote. De Blasio confirmed the news in a tweet.

It’s a major setback for the city, although not unexpected. De Blasio had signaled late last week that schools could be shut down imminently. NYC was once the center of the pandemic but has driven the infection rate down. The city and state still have one of the lowest number of COVID cases in the nation — fourth after Maine, Hawaii and Vermont.

Parents and others have complained that the rate of infection in schools is lower than the city and doesn’t warrant closure. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in recent press briefings has tended to agree, urging the city to develop a new threshold based only on rates in the schools, not the broader community. At home school creates enormous problems for working parents and nutritional issues for many kids, who depend on school meals.

Cuomo last week issued a set of new statewide restrictions, including ordering restaurants and bars to close at 10 pm and limiting social gatherings to ten people.  New York’s mover in line with crackdowns and closures by cities and states across the nation as the COVID second wave takes it course with record new infection rates.


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