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NYC Schools to Close on Thursday due to Rising COVID-19 Cases

NYC Schools to Close on Thursday due to Rising COVID-19 Cases

According to schools chancellor Richard A. Carranza, schools will temporarily close for in-person learning on Thursday, Nov. 19.

In an email to New York City public school principals, schools chancellor Richard A. Carranza said that all public school buildings will close for in-person learning tomorrow, Thursday, Nov. 19 and all students will switch to an all online learning modelSchools have been open for in-person instruction for just under eight weeks. 

“As of this morning, Nov. 18, the City has now reached this threshold of [coronavirus] test positivity citywide and, as a result, the DOE will temporarily close down all public school buildings for in-person learning, Thursday, Nov. 19,” Mr. Carranza wrote just after 2 pm on Wednesday. Mayor Bill de Blasio confirmed this in a tweet.

In his Wednesday afternoon briefing, de Blasio said families should prepare arrangements now because schools will certainly be closed through at least Thanksgiving, although potentially longer. New standards and an action plan will be set by the city—likely with a heavy emphasis on testing. These next few days, the city will plan how the schools will reopen. 

According to Carranza, additional virtual learning resources will be provided to NYC families to make the transition easier. Free meals will continue to be distributed to NYC students who need them. iPads are continuing to be delivered to families who don't have devices. Approximately 60,000 devices have been distributed or are on their way to families who need devices. Over 100,000 devices have been ordered. If a student has not received their device yet, the school will provide a physical packet of assignments to use in the meantime. NYC Schools also continue to work family-by-family to ensure that all families have strong service for online learning. If your family is having a problem with either of these things, call 311. 

According to the mayor, closures will be temporary but will schools will not automatically reopen if the seven-day positivity rate dips below 3 percent. The 3 percent threshold for school closures in NYC is lower than anywhere else in the nation, and also lower than the one originally set this summer by Governor Andrew Cuomo for the rest of the state (9 percent). Details of a school reopening plan will be released soon, according to de Blasio. A step toward reopening of schools throughout the rest of New York State is testing, which de Blasio said earlier this week would be considered as one of the pathways to reopening in NYC.

Coronavirus transmission has remained relatively low in classrooms since their reopening, and the spike in NYC cases does not seem to be caused by the reopening of school buildings, according to The Times. 

NYC is home to the nation's largest school system, and this shutdown is a major setback in New York's COVID-19 recovery efforts. The reopening of schools was also the center of Mayor Bill de Blasio's city reopening efforts. Approximately 300,000 children who have been attending in-person classes for the last eight weeks will be back at home, creating resurfaced child care problems for parents across the city.  

RELATED: Everything You Need to Know About the 2020-2021 NYC Public School Year


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Melissa Wickes

Author: Melissa Wickes, a graduate of Binghamton University and the NYU Summer Publishing Institute, is the production editor for NYMetroParents. She's written hundreds of articles to help New York parents make better decisions for their families. When she's not writing, you can find her eating pasta, playing guitar, or watching reality TV. See More

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