Schools Will Close Today, Unclear When They Will Reopen

Schools Will Close Today, Unclear When They Will Reopen
Lights on late at Erasmus High in Flatbush. Liena Zagare/Bklyner

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the closure of the city’s public schools this afternoon, citing that the city reached a 3% 7-day average infection rate, which was set back in June as a trigger for closing the public school system. The last day of in-person school was today.

The order does not apply to private schools, charters, and some pre-K programs. “3-K & Pre-K classrooms in district schools & DOE Pre-K Centers will be closed. If your child attends a program in a community-based center that is not located in a public school or attends a family childcare program that is part of a DOE network, it will remain open,” NYC DOE tweeted.

“It is a massive failure of leadership to have allowed our schools to close before we got a handle on the virus spreading in indoor restaurants, bars, and gyms, worship and other gatherings. Schools should be the last things to close, not the first,” Councilmember Brad Lander blasted Mayor Bill De Blasio’s announcement that schools will close today to reopen on a date yet to be determined.

“How hard or harmful would it have been to keep school open tomorrow and Friday, close next week for Thanksgiving, and then get on the same page with a good plan afterwards? With a little time for families and teachers to plan, kids to take their books home today, and without the hours of uncertainty and anxiety,” Lander continued, echoing the feelings of many parents, especially across Brooklyn, where infection rates are among the lowest in the city and well below the 3% 7-day averages at 2.2%.

“As a public school parent, I am angry about the leadership that failed to make it possible to keep schools safe and open. It is a sad irony that schools are closing on the same day my office went to court to stop the stonewalling of our investigation into the de Blasio Administration’s response to the first wave. And while our kids will no longer have access to in-person instruction, people are still dining indoors, going to gyms, and working in non-essential offices. This does not pass the common sense test,” lamented Comptroller Scott Stringer, who’s running for Mayor.

“This is a bad blow to working families across NYC. Parents heard no public health expert call for closure & got no real notice. We need health informed decision-making not artificial triggers. And now we need a plan for reopening schools safely!” tweeted Maya Wiley from Flatbush, who is also in the race for the Mayor.

“This sudden announcement has yet again left parents and administrators scrambling to adjust to a new reality, with little time to plan properly. Last week, I very clearly stated that a more strategic approach was needed to ensure continuity and stability for students, parents, and educators. Decisions on school closures should be guided primarily by transmission rates in the school system, which have consistently been much lower than citywide and community averages. The ones who will suffer most from a full transition to remote learning are Black and Latino and lower-income families, who have been left behind without needed access to technology and the internet. New Yorkers deserve better than this confusing, unscientific approach to public education and public health,” Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams emailed. Adams announced earlier today his formal entry in the race for Mayor.

If you’re a public school student who needs a device or technical support, call DOE’s IT help desk at 718-935-5100 and press 5 for assistance. Visit http://Schools.NYC.Gov/Devices for more information.