Nov. 18, 2020 By Allie Griffin
New York City public schools will close in-person classes starting Thursday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today.
Public schools will switch to fully remote classes beginning tomorrow — until further notice. The move comes as New York City’s COVID-19 positivity rate reached 3 percent over a seven-day rolling average, de Blasio announced via Twitter.
De Blasio had warned that once the 3-percent benchmark was breached, the city would shut down public school buildings.
“New York City has reached the 3 percent testing positivity 7-day average threshold,” de Blasio tweeted. “Unfortunately, this means public school buildings will be closed as of tomorrow, Thursday Nov. 19, out an abundance of caution.”
City health officials set the 3 percent threshold as the marker to close down public school buildings when they first unveiled the Department of Education reopening plan at the start of the school year.
IMPORTANT UPDATE: starting tomorrow, all @NYCschools buildings are CLOSED for in-person learning until further notice. All students who were learning in school buildings part of the week will transition to remote learning every day. Visit https://t.co/a6osApfhy7 for more. pic.twitter.com/LhuVmiGTYi
— NYC Public Schools (@NYCSchools) November 18, 2020
De Blasio decided to stick to the 3 percent yardstick, despite evidence that shows COVID-19 transmission has remained low at city schools. The city’s random testing program at public schools returned just a 0.23 percent positivity rate out of 140,434 students and staff tested for the seven days ending Nov. 16.
City officials have not said how long public schools will be closed — just “until further notice.” However, previous rules state public schools would close for a minimum of two weeks should the city reach the 3 percent mark.
De Blasio is expected to announce further details soon.