U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Covid-19 surge prompts New York City schools to halt in-person instruction

Nov. 18, 2020
The nation's largest public school system has been offering in-person classes for some students for about 8 weeks

New York City’s public school system, the nation's largest, will close all its school buildings beginning Thursday as the numbers of people testing positive for the Covid-19 virus continue to rise.

The New York Times reports that the shutdown was prompted by the city’s reaching a 3% test positivity rate over a seven-day rolling average.

Meeting the 3% threshold puts the city in the “orange” zone, the second level of restrictions under the state’s color-coded tier system.

In orange zones, all schools, private and public, are required to close and shift to remote learning. The schools must remain closed for at least four days and are allowed to reopen if they meet certain testing criteria.

New York City Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza disclosed the decision to halt in-person instruction in an email to principals. City schools have been open for in-person instruction for a little less than eight weeks.

Moving to all-remote instruction will disrupt the education of many of the roughly 300,000 children who have been attending in-person classes and create major child care problems for parents who count on their children being at school for at least part of the week.

Virus transmission in city schools has remained very low since classrooms reopened at the end of September, and the spike in cases does not appear to be caused by the reopening of school buildings.

New York City has the nation’s largest school system, with 1,800 schools and 1.1 million students.

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy, senior editor, has written for AS&U on a wide range of educational issues since 1999.

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