The fear of many New Yorkers that the city will have closures again, like those that occurred since last March, when it was declared the COVID-19 pandemic in the five counties he has left 266,574 infections and 59,750 deaths, is about to be a reality. And with the sustained increase in infections, which this Friday stood at the 3.09%, with an average of 2.83% for the last 7 days, schools in the Big Apple they could be forced to close as of this Monday.
So announced Mayor Bill de Blasio, after ensuring that if the weekend infections continue to rise COVID-19, will make the official announcement, so he asked parents now to have a plan ready in case the closure of schools becomes imminent.
“We said that if (infections) exceeded 3 percent in the seven-day moving average, we would temporarily close schools. But I want to emphasize that it is temporary. If we get to that point, then the goal is to bring them back as quickly as possible, ”he said. Mayor, warning that at least all this month the face-to-face classes would be closed and the students affected would have remote classes.
“(In that case) on the weekend, we will notify you immediately to parents that schools would close, in that case Monday. So, people must prepare (…) this is not something that no parent would like to have to deal with, but we must prepare and parents should have a plan for the rest of the month of November ”, highlighted De Blasio. “I think that’s the safe way to think about it, have an alternative plan to start as early as Monday for anything to help them get through this month if school is not open. “
Despite this, the president clarified that those pre-school students who take classes in community organizations and not in public schools, will not be affected by the closure of schools nor the nursery plan launched with the reopening of face-to-face classes.
“These community organizations will remain open. Even if we go beyond three percent. Our programa Learning Bridges, which is the child care program that is offered free of charge, will remain open and priority will be given to essential workers ”, De Blasio explained. “There are options that will be available if we get to that point, but I want to urge parents to have a plan ready that they can put into effect Monday. And we will do an update: we will provide an update to the people (on Saturday) in the morning, as soon as the indicators arrive, and on Sunday morning, as soon as they come in, so that people know where we are. ”
De Blasio He was confident that the city can stop the virus and that, If schools are closed, they will soon reopen.
“Now we may be in a difficult situation, but again, how quickly can we get out of it? Is the question. My hope is that if we all do what we have to do in the city as a whole, this is something that we can overcome in a matter of weeks, if we get to this point ”, stressed the leader of the Big Apple.
Confusion between parents
De Blasio’s announcement generated confusion between parents like Roque Delgado, who has her two third and fourth grade children in face-to-face classes at a Queens school, and who said she did not know what she would do with her children if the schools closed.
“If the Mayor closes the schools, he should give us an alternative to take care of our children while we are working, but is telling us 48 hours before we do what we can. What irresponsibility is that. Where am I going to leave my children if I just started working? ”Said the confused father of the family. “I believed in the Mayor and now he comes out with these. I think that if the infections are not high in the schools they should remain open“.
Carolina Carreras, who has her 9-year-old son in hybrid classes at a Flushing elementary school, called the eventual closure like an advertised chronicle.
“It never seemed like a good idea for schools to open, it is obvious that that is why the infections have increased, although they say that there are not so many, because obviously it is not seen because there are very few tests that are done on children and teachers, “said the Colombian, adding that in her case she did not affects the decision, because he is always at home, but that many parents will like a bucket of cold water. “The mayor now is like the crab, throwing back something that many told him was going to happen. He is a very stubborn man ”.
Leonie Haimson, director of the organization Class Size Matters, criticized the eventual decision of the Mayor and said that before closing schools they should close other types of places.
“Random tests show that the level of infection within schools is still very low, only around .18%. Many epidemiologists believe that closing schools should be a last resort, especially elementary schools, as they provide an essential service and have not been shown to be a primary source of contagion, as many had initially feared, “said the activist, adding that with the Mayor’s handling of the situation has created chaos between parents.
“It is very unfortunate that while the mayor says he can close all schools on Monday, he also tells parents that it is their last chance to sign up for in-person learning for the rest of the year, with a deadline. Sunday to make this decision. There are so many mixed messages coming from the mayor and the Chancellor of Education that parents are understandably confused, angry and upset ”, added Haimson.
Teachers await closure
The President of the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), Michael Mulgrew, assured that teachers expect the closure of schools to happen, based on the COVID-19 indexes, but warned that although students will be ready to have a complete remote learning, you are concerned about the lack of devices.
“My concern really is the technological piece. I don’t want parents and students to go crazy. I hope the city has taken seriously what we’ve been saying and what parents have said about real tech support. ” Mulgrew said. “You can’t keep telling us that you hired an outside company to do it and they said everything is fine. Things don’t work that way. “
On the possible closure of schools in the Big Apple, the governor, Andrew Cuomo, he assured that although the State has the last word, it has left those decisions in the hands of the municipalities, but asked the De Blasio Administration create another parameter different to the 3% of infections in the city as a point to close schools. Cuomo He stressed that considering that the spread of the virus in schools has been very low, that point should not be ignored.
“If schools were open, I think it would be better“, Said the Governor, reiterating that the determination will be of the Big Apple. “Schools are not the problem. I hope the mayor, teachers and parents will work to open the schools, if they close, as quickly as possible ”.
Help to avoid the ‘second wave’
The Mayor also insisted on making a call to the general population to help reduce the infection indicators again and avoid a second wave of high infections, following exactly the basic protection standards such as wearing masks, social distancing, hand washing and not being in crowds or crowded events. At the same time and just when this Friday the new regulations given by the State came into force that restaurants and gyms do not have anyone on their premises after 10:00 pm, the president assured that it is necessary to reassess whether the internal service should also be closed in restaurants to stop the Covid.
And given the boom in infections that has been registered in New York in recent days, the Governor mentioned that the new restrictions that came into effect on Friday, there could be others. He also said he will meet with six governors from the Northeast on Saturday in a “Emergency summit” to create a joint plan to stop the virus.
“We believe that we will have to take additional measuresCuomo said, predicting that the COVID-19 situation “Will deteriorate” in the cold season and end of the year holidays. “The good news is that our positive rate is one of the lowest in the country. The bad news is that we are in the middle of a sea of COVID that rises around us (…) You cannot defy reality, and the reality is that the virus is transmitted and the virus is mobile and we are in the Christmas season. All of these are elements that conspire to increase COVID. The numbers are going up. The numbers will go up. I take it as a fact ”.
The Ombudsman, Jumaane Williams, also manifested on what seems to be an imminent second wave of COVID-19 in the city, and presented a document called “In case of a second wave”, with several recommendations for the authorities and communities, in order to limit the spread of COVID-19 and more victims.
“As cases rise across the country to new highs, here in New York City it is now undeniable that we are seeing the rise of a second wave, but its outcome is not inevitable,” said the Advocate, who called for the closure of nonessential indoor businesses such as gyms, nail and nail salons, and places of worship, plus indoor restaurants. “To prevent the level of pain and devastation inflicted by the economic and public health crises that worsened in the spring, we have to learn from our mistakes and be proactive (…) The faster and more decisively we act now, the less pain we will see. in the long term ”.
COVID-19 infection data in NY
- 24 deaths were recorded in the last day across the state
- 3.09% is the percentage of positive cases on the last day
- 2.83% is the average number of infections in the last 7 days
- 0.16% is the average number of infections in schools
- 121 hospitalizations were recorded in the last day
- 28.8% of those cases tested positive for COVID-19
- 916 positive cases is the average of the last 7 days
- 266,574 New Yorkers have been infected
- 59,750 people have been hospitalized
- 19,431 confirmed deaths from COVID-19
- 26,079 deaths have been statewide
- 4,677 suspected deaths related to COVID-19
Digsmak is a news publisher with over 12 years of reporting experiance; and have published in many industry leading publications and news sites.