Teachers union wants to close schools again if NYC hits 9 percent infection rate
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The teachers’ union on Monday said that all schools should close if the city hits a 9 percent coronavirus infection rate per state calculations.
That demand could be complicated, however, by the fact that the city and state governments each calculate the citywide COVID-19 infection rates differently and present varying numbers each day.
On Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio already had the figure at 9 percent while the state’s formula put it at 6 percent.
“Using that state measure, if the community infection rate in the city hits 9 percent, the safe thing to do is to close the schools, even if the in-school rate is lower,” United Federation of Teachers president Mulgrew said in a statement. “Safety comes first — as shown by the fact that hundreds of our elementary schools and classrooms are closed temporarily every day because the virus has been detected.”
To enable the partial reopening of schools last month, the city instituted mandatory weekly testing of students and staff.
While those screens have produced minimal infection rates, many schools have been forced to shutter temporarily due to COVID-19 case protocols.
De Blasio said he was confident that schools remained healthy havens at his daily briefing Monday.
He said about 100,000 students and staffers were tested for the virus and that the infection rate was just 0.68 percent.
“The safest place to be in New York City of course, is our public schools,” he said. “We see that and we know it’s working and so we want – absolutely know our kids need to be in school. They need the benefits of in-person education.”
Roughly 190,000 kids were eligible to return to the limited number of schools that reopened last month.
The vast majority of children in the nation’s largest school system of 1.1 million kids are on a fully remote schedule and do not go to their buildings.
Mulgrew urged the city to adopts the state’s COVID-19 infection rate methodology for the sake of clarity.
“It’s a real problem when the state and city use different measures to determine the rate of coronavirus infection,” he said. “Given the fact that all the other communities in the state use the state methodology, New York City should adopt it also.”
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