Big Apple parents should brace themselves for New York City public schools to close for in-person learning as early as Monday amid a spike in coronavirus infections, Mayor Bill de Blasio warned Friday.
“This is not something that any parent wants to have to deal with, but we should get ready [for school closures,” de Blasio said during his weekly appearance on WNYC radio’s “The Brian Lehrer Show.”
Hizzoner suggested that parents “have a plan for the rest of the month of November” in the event that in-person learning shutters and all students must switch to remote learning.
“I think that’s the safe way to think about it. Have an alternative plan, beginning as early as Monday, for whatever will help get through this month if school is not open,” he said.
De Blasio insisted that should public school buildings close, it would be temporary.
“We would close the schools temporarily, and I want to emphasis temporarily,” said de Blasio. “If we reach that point then the goal is to bring them back as quickly as possible.”
The caution comes as the city inches closer and closer to a 3 percent infection rate on a seven-day rolling average.
The de Blasio administration has said that once the Big Apple’s COVID-19 infection rate soars above 3 percent on the seven-day rolling average, city school buildings will shutter.
“I want to urge parents to have a plan ready that they can put into effect as early as Monday,” the mayor said.
The latest city data shows that the Big Apple has a 2.83 percent infection rate on a seven-day rolling average.
The nonprofit-run pre-K and 3K programs in the city would remain open even if the infection rate surpasses 3 percent, as well as the Learning Bridges childcare program, said de Blasio.
“It is still below 3 percent, so schools remain open. But that number has gotten close to 3 percent and we are making preparations as a result in case that number does exceed 3 percent,” he said.
The city’s seven-day rolling average of new virus cases is at 916 — 366 more than the city’s warning threshold of 550 cases, while the daily citywide positivity rate is at 3.09 percent, the latest data shows.
Additionally, 121 new patients were admitted to city hospitals with suspected COVID-19, according to the data.
“There’s still a chance these numbers could turn,” said Hizzoner.
Following a twice delayed start date to the coronavirus-impacted school year, in-person learning in the city public schools officially kicked off on Sept. 21.
The news of another looming city school closure comes as parents who initially chose remote-only learning for their children decide whether to opt back in to a blended learning program for the remainder of the school year.
Parents have until Nov. 15 to decide if they want to enroll their child in blended learning – a mix of remote and in-person learning.
Meanwhile, de Blasio said that the 3 percent infection rate being the threshold for which public schools close was “something the city decided” and “not part of any collective bargaining agreement” with the teachers’ unions.
“This is a standard we set of when we thought we would know the difference between ‘we could keep things as safe as we wanted to’ versus something that was getting more challenging,” de Blasio explained.
Internal school testing, according to the Department of Education, has produced infection rates that have hovered around just 0.15 percent.
Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza had warned principals late Thursday to prepare for another shutdown of in-person learning at all New York City schools
“Out of an abundance of caution, and to keep our school communities safe, I am asking all schools to be prepared for a brief time of fully remote learning, system-wide,” Carranza wrote in an email obtained by The Post.