Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza told principals Wednesday that all in-person learning in the nation’s largest school system will shut down due to a citywide rise in coronavirus cases.
Carranza said the infection rate average over the last seven days hit the closure threshold of 3 percent and that building activity would be suspended.
“The closure of buildings is temporary; we will work diligently alongside other City agencies and every other New Yorker to bring this transmission rate back down and get back to in-person learning as quickly and as safely as possible,” Carranza’s email stated.
Principals sent letters out to parents Wednesday afternoon to apprise them of the year’s latest disruption.
The order will impact the roughly 300,000 city students still currently enrolled in City Hall’s blended learning format that has kids alternate between home and classroom instruction.
Roughly 700,000 students are already on a fully remote schedule and do not go to their buildings.
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s commitment to the 3 percent kill switch has met resistance from critics who view it as an arbitrary and outdated indicator of a dangerous COVID-19 surge.
While he said he would defer to de Blasio on city school closures, Gov. Andrew Cuomo told MSNBC earlier this week that the number was established months ago and that more informative data has evolved since.
Many parents have also noted that City Hall has consistently touted the safety of in-person learning in recent weeks in encouraging them to switch from remote to blended learning.
According to the Department of Education, random internal testing of students and staffers in city school buildings consistently yielded minimal infection rates hovering around 0.15 percent.
But de Blasio has argued in recent days that adhering to the 3 percent figure would signal his seriousness about containing the virus.
“That was a rule we made to keep faith with people and show our commitment to safety,” he said on MSNBC earlier this week. “We’re going to live by that rule.”
De Blasio delayed a morning briefing Wednesday and is expected to speak in the afternoon.
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