De Blasio says schools could close as soon as Monday

November 14, 2020 Jaime DeJesus
De Blasio says schools could close as soon as Monday
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Here we go again.

With COVID-19 cases on the rise, Mayor Bill de Blasio warned that New York City public schools could close again by Monday and return to all-remote learning if the rate of infection reaches three percent.

During an appearance on “The Brian Lehrer Show,” de Blasio said the current rate is 2.83 percent.

“That’s the number that’s gone up since yesterday,” he said. “It is still below three percent, so schools remain open. But that number has gotten quite close to three percent today and we are making preparations as a result in case that number does exceed three percent, and in the event that we do have to temporarily close our schools.”

De Blasio told Lehrer that if the city hits the three percent mark over the weekend, parents will be alerted immediately that schools will be closed.

City Council Education Chair Mark Treyger said the city needs to switch immediately to a different reopening model, guided by science, safety and equity.

“My proposal from July is a more equitable staggered approach, which prioritizes access to in-person instruction for our most vulnerable student populations: our youngest learners, students with disabilities, multilingual learners, families experiencing homelessness, and children in foster care,” he said.

Treyger also said that in case of a shutdown, the city should provide appropriate technology to every child from every ZIP code and offer meaningful childcare options for the children of essential workers.

“I urge the mayor and DOE to restart our school system with a new lens of equity in addition to centering safety,” he said. “This proposal is intended to be a safer way to ensure that the DOE’s resource-limited capacity to provide in-person instruction is allocated in a more equitable manner than the current one-size-fits-all approach, which, in reality, exacerbates existing inequities throughout our school system.”

The news comes just after several Brooklyn schools were allowed to reopen on Thursday.

“Now that we have finally figured out how to safely return these students to school, many families are faced with closures once again,” said State Senator Andrew Gounardes. “This is a matter of basic fairness for working families and ensuring that those children in the public school system do not fall behind. We know more than we did this spring about the disease and how it spreads, and right now, with masks, precaution and testing, the schools have been a success story, with only .18 percent of students, teachers and school staff testing positive for COVID-19.”

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