The largest school district in the country, New York City, is shutting down schools for at least five weeks. It’s the latest district to close schools in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. NYC now has 729 confirmed cases and five deaths. NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio (watch above) said:
“I have been very honest about the fact that there is a real possibility that by closing our schools now there is a very real chance we will not be able to reopen our schools for the first school year.”
“I have no words for how horrible it is, but it has become necessary,”
The closures will alter the lives and routines of 1.1 million children, 75,000 teachers and well over 1 million parents, and will no doubt prompt broader upheaval in a moment of profound anxiety for New Yorkers.
Indeed, parents are already questioning what they will do with their kids during the closure, especially for those who will still be required to go to work. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says, “NYC must have a plan in place in the next 24 hours for childcare for essential workers and a plan to make sure kids will continue to get the meals they need… This action is necessary to reduce density and mitigate the spread of #COVID19.”
Classes will be shut down entirely Monday and teachers and administrators will report to work Tuesday through Thursday to plan for online learning, which will begin March 23.
All schools will be open this week for “grab-and-go” breakfast and lunch for all students who depend on school meals.
After that, the city will keep some schools open as “learning centers” to provide childcare for essential workers including healthcare workers. They will also be open to the most “vulnerable” families, which schools Chancellor Richard Carranza said will include families who live in poverty and those who are homeless.