Nov 18, 2020 - Health

NYC will again close public schools amid virus surge

A student stands by his mother while holding a lunchbox and his backpack, while a crossing guard in a bright yellow vest stands near them and the street

A student is informed by a crossing guard of a temporary school closure in Brooklyn. Photo: Michael Nagle/Xinhua via Getty Images

New York City's public school system will close for in-person learning beginning Thursday after coronavirus positivity rates in the city topped 3%, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Why it matters: The city, which is staring down a second coronavirus wave after being the world's epicenter for the pandemic earlier this year, previously boasted having more students physically in classrooms than nearly any other locality in the country, per the New York Times.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Marisa Fernandez: The tough decision taps into the struggle of school districts all across the country during this time of peak community spread.

Worth noting: Despite the closure, indoor dining remains open at a reduced capacity across the state, per the Times.

What they're saying: Asked at a press conference if the school closure was a setback to the state's handling of the virus, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, "If you’re on the planet, the cases are going up."

  • "The whole world is going up. Right? The whole world. Every state in the nation is going up. Right? So success becomes what? How you’re doing relative to everybody else. That’s what success becomes.”
  • "And New Yorkers are doing better than everybody else."

The big picture: Hospitalizations in New York are steadily rising, and cases in the state have seen a dramatic jump this month — but the numbers are still well below the levels seen this spring, per the COVID Tracking Project.

Go deeper