NYC Public Schools Will Close After Rise In City’s Virus Cases


After nearly eight weeks of in-person learning, NYC School Chancellor Richard A. Carranza announced Wednesday (November 18) that schools are closing.

In an email to principals, Carranza cited the increase in the city's coronavirus cases prompted the closures and return to remote learning. NYC is the nation’s largest public school system with 1,800 schools serving 1.1 million students.

The city had fended off school closures, but as the citywide reached a three percent positivity rate, officials could no longer ignore signs that the second wave of the pandemic is here.  

Carranza wrote, “As of this morning, November 18, the City has now reached this threshold of test positivity citywide and, as result, the DOE will temporarily close down all public school buildings for in-person learning, Thursday, November 19.” 

The email was sent a few hours after Mayor Bill de Blasio was expected to speak at a news conference. De Blasio sent a tweet, confirming the news of the school closures.

The news of the closures comes even though the spread of the virus in schools has been low since the end of September when schools reopened, according to a report by The New York Times

The closures are frustrating for parents who have tirelessly adapted to consistently changing school schedules. Especially as gyms and restaurants remain open. 

Some offices have reopened, causing more nonessential employees to travel on public transportation. 

Over the last seven days, the city has seen a surge in cases even after putting tight restrictions in place to reduce transmission and hospitalization rates back in March when NYC was an epicenter of the virus. 

This new surge is also prompting city and state officials to consider restricting indoor dining, and closing non essential business.  

The school system faced backlash from parents and educators who said officials worked harder to reopen buildings than improving the online learning experience for the 70% of students who do remote learning. 

Some vulnerable student populations have not received devices from the district to log into remote learning, according to The Times' report.  

Teachers also reported they have not been equipped with training to improve remote learning instruction and say their students have a hard time logging in because of constant technical difficulties. 

With the new surge, and holiday season upon us, it is unclear when students in NYC will be able to return to in-person learning. 

Photo: Getty Images


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