This is a developing story.
Eight weeks after New York City schools partially reopened for in-person instruction, they will close again on Thursday due to rising coronavirus cases across the city, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday afternoon on Twitter.
“We warned parents days ago that this moment might come,” he said at a press conference later when asked about the apparent suddenness of the decision. Though the city’s overall COVID-19 test positivity rate remains relatively low, it has breached a threshold previously set by the mayor. De Blasio said this summer that a citywide positivity rate of 3 percent, over a seven-day average, would trigger full school closures for approximately 300,000 children.
Officials suggested last week that the public-school system may close as the city’s positivity rate increased this month, but the execution of the closure was sloppy even by recent standards for how the mayor has handled the pandemic. De Blasio’s daily press conference was delayed for five hours without explanation, leading observers to wonder what was going on. Neither De Blasio or Governor Andrew Cuomo broke the disruptive news to the public — it was left to the news media to report around 2 p.m. that schools chancellor Richard Carranza had told principals to shut their doors effective Thursday.
Many parents will scramble for childcare for kids who have been attending classes two or three times a week in person, the New York Times reported, Bars and restaurants, however, will remain open with limited indoor seating, a seeming contradiction has frustrated parents and teachers alike. Both groups have also complained that the mayor’s reopening strategy for hybrid learning was unrealistic, and would have required a teacher hiring spree in order to work. Some children still lack the technology or teacher personnel to learn virtually at home.