New York City public schools closed for at least a month: de Blasio

Mayor Bill de Blasio at a recent press conference on the coronavirus outbreak. (Photo via Flickr/NYC Mayor’s Office)

Mayor Bill de Blasio will finally shut down New York City schools amid rising pressure from parents, teachers and fellow elected officials, he announced Sunday afternoon.

Schools will be closed starting March 16 and are expected to remain closed until April 20. The announcement comes an hour after Governor Andrew Cuomo called on New York schools to be closed. There is a possibility that schools could remain closed for the rest of the 2020-2021 school year, the mayor said. 

“Now that we will not have our normal school schedule we are going to try to come up with a number of alternatives to still give our kids with and education remotely and providing physical locations for those crucial public workers such as health care workers, transit workers and first responders,” said de Blasio. 

Remote learning will begin on March 23, a week from Monday.

For the next five days, the mayor said, schools will only be open to provide grab and go lunches for students. Over the next three days, teachers will be learning how to instruct remotely, primarily online, and the city will work to provide technology to every child that needs it and to figure out alternatives to those who don’t have access to internet. 

“It’s going to look different, in different places with different teachers,” Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza said about offsite learning.

de Blasio added that now five New York City residents have died due to complications because of COVID-19 — all of them are seniors 50 years of age and older with underlying health conditions.

Through Sunday, there were 329 confirmed coronavirus cases in New York — 78 in Queens, 72 in Manhattan, 53 in Brooklyn, 21 in the Bronx and 16 in Staten Island.

This is a developing story; check with amny.com later for further updates.