De Blasio says schools will remain open on Monday due to 2.57% positivity rate

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A coronavirus resurgence in New York City pushed officials to consider closing schools again, but Mayor Bill de Blasio said that they will remain open on Monday as the positivity rate stayed below 3 per cent. 

In a tweet Sunday morning, the mayor wrote: ‘Today’s indicators are similar to yesterday: • 117 patients admitted to the hospital • 937 new cases • The test positivity 7-day average is 2.57%.’ 

He added: ‘Thankfully, schools will remain open on Monday, but we have to keep fighting back with everything we’ve got.’

On Friday, the citywide positivity rate had risen to 2.8 per cent after climbing for several weeks. 

A coronavirus resurgence in New York City pushed officials to prepare to close schools again, but Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday that they will remain open

A coronavirus resurgence in New York City pushed officials to prepare to close schools again, but Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday that they will remain open

In a tweet Sunday morning, the mayor wrote: 'Today's indicators are similar to yesterday: ¿ 117 patients admitted to the hospital ¿ 937 new cases ¿ The test positivity 7-day average is 2.57%'

In a tweet Sunday morning, the mayor wrote: ‘Today’s indicators are similar to yesterday: • 117 patients admitted to the hospital • 937 new cases • The test positivity 7-day average is 2.57%’

If the positivity rate had reached 3 per cent, de Blasio would’ve closed all school buildings in the city. The 3 per cent mark was set over the summer as the city was trying to avoid a teachers’ strike. 

The city’s public school system this fall became one of just a few large, urban districts in the US to welcome students back into classrooms. 

A little more than a quarter of the city’s 1.1 million pupils have been attending classes in person between one and three days a week.

Just a few weeks ago, the return was going well enough that officials decided to give a little shove to parents who had opted to stick with all-remote learning: Send your kids back now, parents were told, or forfeit the option of having them return later this academic year.

Some parents expressed frustration that they were being asked to make a decision about sending children back into classrooms, when the city itself is not even sure what will happen next.

‘The information that we have seems to indicate that these next few months are not going to be so great,’ said Jared Rich, who has kept his son out of pre-kindergarten so far but would consider sending him in the spring when teachers can open windows and take students outside.

The mayor, Rich said, is ‘forcing us to make the decision to put our kids in person at a time when it’s not just a surge; this is out of control what’s going on.’

‘It’s so upsetting,’ the Brooklyn attorney said. 

Over the summer, city officials gave parents a choice: They could do hybrid instruction, where students would be in classrooms some days, but learning online others. Or, they could go all-remote.

About 280,000 students signed up for classroom instruction, far fewer than officials expected.

Since the start of the school year, 1,800 students (pictured on October 29) or staff in the system have tested positive for the virus

Since the start of the school year, 1,800 students (pictured on October 29) or staff in the system have tested positive for the virus

As a result, nearly 1,100 classrooms (pictured October 15) have gone through temporary closures. At least 115 school buildings have been closed for 24 hours because of positive tests; 62 have been closed for 14 days or more

As a result, nearly 1,100 classrooms (pictured October 15) have gone through temporary closures. At least 115 school buildings have been closed for 24 hours because of positive tests; 62 have been closed for 14 days or more

The city initially said parents would have a chance each quarter to switch from remote to blended learning. 

The decision to end that system of quarterly choices was made ‘for the sake of stability,’ Education Chancellor Richard Carranza said. 

Until now, the city has relied on targeted closures, rather than citywide shutdowns, to keep schools from fueling the pandemic.

Since the start of the school year, 1,800 students or staff in the system have tested positive for the virus. 

As a result, nearly 1,100 classrooms have gone through temporary closures. At least 115 school buildings have been closed for 24 hours because of positive tests; 62 have been closed for 14 days or more.

De Blasio has been asked repeatedly whether he would consider changing the threshold for a citywide closure, given that some schools in Europe have remained open even as businesses have been ordered closed. 

Germany began a four-week period of restrictions on November 2, closing restaurants, bars, sports and leisure facilities, but keeping schools and shops open.

Children in neighboring France continue to go to school while most adults are confined to their homes for all but one hour a day.

Several states have kept schools open for in-person learning in areas where there are far more infections per capita than in New York City. 

While the city has seen an increase in cases lately, it now ranks far better than most other places in the country.

De Blasio said it was ‘crucial’ to adhere to the standard he set over the summer.

If a shutdown does happen, the city will work to reopen as quickly as it can once infection rates decline, he said.

Gov Andrew Cuomo has previously said that he wouldn’t stand in the way of New York City’s closure order.

Under the state rules, school districts don’t have to close until an average of 9 per cent of coronavirus tests in their area come back positive.

Detroit Public Schools on Thursday joined a growing list of districts shifting to remote learning, telling students to stay home until January 11. 

Philadelphia administrators on Tuesday scrapped plans to start bringing students back November 30. 

Minneapolis Public Schools on Monday put an indefinite hold on efforts to bring more children back to school. Boston public schools switched back to all-remote learning on October 22.

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