New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza has announced that New York City public schools will close tomorrow. The shutdown was automatically triggered when the city hit a 3 percent rate of positive coronavirus tests over a seven-day rolling average.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio had hinted last week that schools could close as early as Nov. 16, but that Monday came and schools opened their doors. About 300,000 of the city's 1.1 million school children have been attending classes in schools, with the rest learning remotely. The closing of schools moves all children to remote learning.
The blended education model saw children able to attend school two days per week, with the rest of the lessons being done online. Kids who had been overjoyed to have in-person learning will be heartbroken to find that this is no longer available.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo refused to answer press questions as to what the plan was for schools, as Jimmy Vielkind pointed out that parents are confused as to what the status of their children's education is. Cuomo said that parents are not confused. However, Vielkind is right. Parents are confused to find that tomorrow their children will be again deprived an education.
As Eliza Shapiro notes in The New York Times, the transmission of the virus within schools had been very low ever since schools opened at the end of September, which was already a few weeks later than normal. Schools in New York typically open right after Labor Day.
"The spike in cases does not appear to be caused by the reopening of school buildings," Shapiro said.
Schools are closing, but restaurants and gyms will remain open at their reduced capacity, and public transportation will not close.
Parents are incensed to find that education continues to not be prioritized by either de Blasio or Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
There is no clear understanding as yet from leadership as to when the city's 1,800 public schools will open. The educational system has been topsy-turvy in New York since the doors first closed on March 16. The threshold of 3 percent positivity does not go the other way—when cases drop down below that number schools will not automatically reopen.
The 3 percent number was agreed to by the United Federation of Teachers and the mayor's office. Los Angeles and Chicago schools are also closed, and Detroit recently closed its doors to students.