November 19, 2020
The nation’s largest school district will shut its doors on Thursday as novel coronavirus rates in New York City creep upward and case numbers climb across the country. Students across the city’s public school system will now transition to remote learning — sparking confusion and frustration amongst the city’s parents, teachers and students.
Meanwhile, even public health experts questioned the move, pointing out that schools have not proved to be likely transmission hotspots and that the city’s bars and restaurants are more likely drivers of coronavirus spread.
Mayor Bill de Blasio made the final call Wednesday afternoon, prompted by the city reaching a 3% test positivity rate over a seven-day rolling average — a conservative threshold measured against the rest of the country, which de Blasio set as the watermark amid the summer surge.
“Today’s a tough day, but this is a temporary situation,” de Blasio said Wednesday in an afternoon press conference that occurred five hours after his briefing was initially scheduled. “We all are feeling very sad about this decision because so much good work has been put into keeping the schools open,” the mayor said, adding, “our schools will be back.”