Earlier today Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that public and private schools in COVID-19 hotspot clusters – those exceeding 3% infection rate – will not reopen tomorrow for in-person instruction.
He blamed the decision on lack of enforcement of current rules to contain COVID-19 in the city, by the city, and said Mayor Bill de Blasio should have brought the plan to contain the spread within these clusters the state before going public with it on Sunday to avoid additional confusion for local parents and businesses.
As it stands, all public and private schools in the following 9 zip codes will not reopen tomorrow: 11691, 11219, 11223, 11230, 11204, 11210, 11229, 11415, 11367. The great majority of these zip codes are in Brooklyn.
While no exact numbers were mentioned by officials as to how many schools are to close, we do know that the closures will affect some of the biggest schools in the city – Midwood High School (4,000+ students, 11210 zip), Madison High School (3,600+ students, 11229), John Dewey High School (over 2,200 students, 11223), Murrow HS ( 3,700+ students, 11230), FDR HS (3,000+ students, 11204). Brooklyn School of Inquiry (Brooklyn’s only citywide G&T school), also in 11204 will close, in addition to hundreds of other public and private schools.
Some of the conversation at the governor’s press conference centered on the lack of meaningful data and lack of testing data for schools in particular (something that reporters across the city’s news outlets have been frustrated with). The city’s plan for testing and tracing at schools did not provide for a plan on what to do in high infection rate zip codes.
Closing of schools and establishment based on zip codes of physical location when they draw from large areas seemed lacking in common sense, and Governor acknowledged that we need to draw meaningful boundaries and use more granular – census tract level data – which is available as addresses of those tested get collected. However, it only seemed to imply that more, not fewer schools may be closed.
While public schools had barely reopened for blended in person instruction, two schools in Southern BK were already closed by tody: P.S. K811 Connie Lekas School – K286 in Sheepshead Bay, and P.S. 112 Lefferts Park – K768 in Bensonhurst, the only two schools to be closed in the city. The NYC DOE map of COVID cases seems to map the higher infection rates:
This map is a fairly useless tool to see what is going on, whether you are a parent or not, as it does not disclose anything about who (staff or students) contracted the virus, and you need to know the location of your school to find it on the map.
If you look at the state data – there is a bit more information, though you have to go school by school to find relevant data. So we can find out that at PS811 Connie Lekas school there were 4 positive cases among staff, and none reported among students.
Similarly, PS112 recorded three positive cases among staff. Students are not yet required to be tested before attending school or with any regularity, and the citywide random testing had not yet started.
Across the city’s public schools, as of October 2, there have been 182 positive COVID19 cases recorded, of which 145 were among teachers and 38 among students, based on data reported by the city and parents to the state. However, citywide there were 409 confirmed new cases of COVID19 among school aged kids (aged 5-17) last week (9/26-10/02), with 100 of them reported on 10/02.
While 11235 and 11218 are currently on the watch list, 11235 – Sheepshead Bay/Brighton Beach/Manhattan Beach has had infection rates above 3% for 5 days now, and 11218 just logged its first day above 3%, indicating that they may be added to whatever restrictions get implemented for the other communities.