Published:Thursday, 19 Nov 2020 07:11
In another sign of the enduring nationwide impact of the coronavirus pandemic, New York City — still the U.S. city with the highest death toll — announced it will again close its schools for in-person learning as of Thursday (November 19).
The announcement came at a news conference that had been delayed for several hours, adding to the anxiety of many families that had feared the closure was coming.
When the school year finally began at the end of September after two delays, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that if the city reached an average 3% positivity rate over a seven-day period of coronavirus testing, schools would close again. This is the most cautious threshold recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in its school-reopening guidelines. The city hit that number over the past few days.
De Blasio portrayed his decision as a promise kept both to educators and to parents.
“We’ve got to keep faith with our school communities and be consistent,” he told radio host Brian Lehrer on WNYC last Friday. The United Federation of Teachers, the union that represents most New York City instructors, had endorsed sticking with the plan as laid out.
Of the city’s approximately 1 million public school students, only about 300,000 had been attending school in person on a hybrid schedule, along with some pre-K and special education students who were able to attend full time. The remaining students have been learning remotely. The shutdown comes only a few days after the end of an opt-in period during which more families could choose in-person learning._Agencies