NYC closes schools citing COVID-19, despite low positivity rate

BARCELONA: Check-in counters are empty at a terminal of Barcelona’s El Prat airport as authorities prepare to transfer all activity to one terminal with the decline in air traffic amid the pandemic.—AFP

BARCELONA: Check-in counters are empty at a terminal of Barcelona’s El Prat airport as authorities prepare to transfer all activity to one terminal with the decline in air traffic amid the pandemic.—AFP

The mayor said he's "convinced" the city and state will be able to work together to reopen schools.

"I don't know what I'm going to do, except pull my hair out", she said.

De Blasio agreed with parents and teachers months ago to set the 3% rate that forces a temporary halt to the largest US school system's blended program of classroom and remote instruction.

Additionally, the mayor said the DOE will continue to distribute devices to students in need, also on a priority basis.

The governor pointed out that, while New York's percent positivity rate is at 2.88%, it is among the lowest in the USA, only behind Vermont, Hawaii and Maine.

In addition to shutting indoor dining, the orange zone restrictions close gyms, fitness centers and salons. Annual tuition at private schools can be more than $55,000.

He said that special needs children need to be one of the main focuses of the school's closure and reopening strategies.

The city's public school students will now be taught entirely online, as most already are.

Indeed, Cuomo could decide at any time that conditions have grown unsafe to continue operating schools.

Browning, Nightingale-Bamford, Collegiate, Spence, and Trinity are among the independent schools in Manhattan that said they will hold in-person classes Thursday.

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Students at West Brooklyn Community High School listen to questions posed by their principal during a current events-trivia quiz and pizza party in the school's cafeteria in New York, October 29, 2020. In-person school resumed September 21 for pre-kindergarteners and some special education students.

To keep students spread out, the city offered in-person learning only part-time, with youngsters logging on from home the rest of the time. The city reported 1,255 new cases of Covid-19 on a 7-day average.

Horace Mann in the Bronx chose to shift to remote learning until January 19 after a student tested positive for COVID-19, the school said Wednesday in a letter to parents.

While many big US school districts later chose to start the fall term with online learning, de Blasio pushed for opening schoolhouse doors.

The reopening date, originally set for September 10, was postponed twice as teachers, principals and some parents said safety precautions and staffing were inadequate, with the teachers' union at one point threatening to strike.

De Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo have both warned that the city is close to hitting that benchmark.

"This number just keeps growing and this worries me a lot", said de Blasio, noting the city's 550-case threshold.

Cuomo predicted a "tremendous spike" in COVID-19 cases after Thanksgiving as he pleaded with people not to be lulled into a false sense of safety over the holiday. "Your dining room table at Thanksgiving sounds safe", Cuomo said at a state capitol briefing. "No, you won't be safe".

Orange zone restrictions - the midrange level among the state's designated red, orange and yellow zones - mandate the closure of indoor dining and high-risk nonessential businesses like gyms and personal care services.

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