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De Blasio Warns NYC Parents All Schools May Close Monday

Stacie Sherman
·2 min read

(Bloomberg) -- Mayor Bill de Blasio said New York City parents should be prepared for schools to end in-person classes as soon as Monday.

“People should get ready,” de Blasio said Friday on WNYC-FM radio. “Parents should have a plan for the rest of the month of November.”

The mayor has said school doors will shut when the city’s positive Covid test rate hits 3%. The seven-day rolling average has climbed to 2.83%, from less than 2% at the beginning of the month.

“That number has gotten quite close,” de Blasio said.

New York City schools began reopening in September with a blend of remote and in-class education. Most parents opted to keep their kids home. The district’s only mid-year opt-in period for parents wanting to switch their kids to some in-class instruction ends Sunday.

De Blasio said Thursday that officials are prepared to shut down the schools the day after the rate hits 3%. On Friday, he said he will provide updates on Saturday and Sunday.

Governor Andrew Cuomo said Friday that the city has the power to close schools, but he urged them to quickly reopen if they do. He said the state has the authority to close schools in hot spots, and suggested that the city set an infection rate threshold based on spread in the schools themselves, instead of just using community indicators.

“The problem isn’t coming from the schools,” Cuomo said Friday at a virus press briefing. “It’s coming from the bars, the restaurants, the gyms, and the living room family spread.”

In a letter sent to principals Thursday night, Chancellor Richard Carranza asked for all schools “to be prepared for a brief time of fully remote learning, system-wide.”

“While no decision has been made about a systemwide transition to remote learning, as every great school leader knows, we must be prepared for every scenario,” Carranza wrote.

“We know that many of our students and families need and want a blended learning model, and we too are eager to keep offering a blended learning model system-wide for as long as it is safe and healthy to do so,” Carranza wrote. “If the situation arises where we must temporarily close school buildings, we will work collaboratively with city agency partners and all New Yorkers in taking swift action to curb Covid-19 transmission.”

(Adds governor’s comments in seventh paragraph)

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