NYC schools to close again as city fights virus

New York City is shuttering schools to try to stop the renewed spread of the coronavirus, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday, in a painful about-face for one of the first big U.S. school systems to bring students back to classrooms this fall. (Nov. 18)

Video Transcript

BILL DE BLASIO: Everyone has been working so hard to fight back the coronavirus. New Yorkers continue to go out there doing the right thing, getting tested-- so much going on. But this morning, we had bad news. We spent some time confirming it and double-checking it because it is exactly on the number of 3.00%. But unfortunately, as of today, on our seven-day rolling average for coronavirus positivity, New York City has hit exactly 3.0%. And as a result, we do need to close our schools for the coming days.

No one is happy about this decision. We all, in fact, are feeling very sad about this decision because so much good work has been put into keeping the schools open-- opening them up to begin with. Let's start there, opening the schools when almost no other major school system in America opened, making them so safe. But we set a very clear standard, and we need to stick to that standard.

And I want to emphasize to parents, to educators, to staff, to kids that we intend to come back and come back as quickly as possible. We are working right now with the state of New York, and that was a lot of what we talked about this morning. I had a number of conversations with the governor, and our teams have been talking throughout the morning on exactly what it would take to come back and bring our schools back quickly.

And it will be a higher standard. I want that to be clear. We have a stringent health-and-safety standard right now. We're going to have to raise that up even higher to be able to bring our schools back, but that's exactly what we intend to do.