New York City announced Wednesday that will close its schools again in the face of the advance of COVID-19. In an email to the directors of educational institutions, Richard Carranza, the official in charge of its operation, explained that the measure was taken after the city registered a positivity rate greater than 3% for more than seven consecutive days, the threshold established as the limit to enable face-to-face education.
“As of this morning, November 18, the City has reached this threshold for citywide testing positivity and, as a result, the DOE will temporarily close all public school buildings for in-person learning on Thursday. November 19, ”Carranza said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, meanwhile, spoke on social networks: “New York reached the threshold of an average of 3% positive tests over seven days. Unfortunately, this means that the public school buildings will be closed from tomorrow, Thursday, November 19, as a precaution. “
“We must fight the second wave of COVID-19”added.
This school closure represents the most significant setback to New York’s recovery since the spring, when the city was the global epicenter of the outbreak.
De Blaso clarified that, while the closings will be temporary, schools will not automatically reopen the moment the seven-day positivity rate falls below 3% again.
For his part, Carranza specified that the classes will be offered only remotely until further notice.
New York is the only major city in the country to commit to offering face-to-face classes this fall as part of a hybrid system that includes online learning. Many cities, such as Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Miami, opted instead for the virtual model.
The measure is questioned by many New Yorkers who stress that the rate of positive tests in educational establishments since its reopening in September it is much lower than the city average rate.
Transmission of the virus in New York schools had remained very low since classrooms reopened in late September. Despite this new closure, the increase in infections does not appear to be due to the reopening of school buildings. The positivity rate in schools is only 0.19 percent, according to Carranza.
Others, meanwhile, wonder why close schools, with the damage that it implies for children, when eating is still allowed inside bars and restaurants, although at a reduced capacity.
The mayor, however, He pledged with the powerful teachers’ union to close the establishments if the infection rate reached 3% for seven days.
New York has the largest school system in the country, with 1,800 schools and 1.1 million students.
All 1,800 public schools were closed for the first time on March 15 when the city became the first epicenter of the American virus outbreak. They were initially closed until April 20 before being closed until the end of the school year when the pandemic spread to the largest city in the United States. They started to open again in September.
Despite the fact that New York is no longer the state with the highest number of infections, it remains the worst hit in terms of deaths in the United States with 34,076. Furthermore, the number of infected is increasing.
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