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Will NYC schools stay open as virus positivity rates rise?

What moms and dads need to know

By
Danielle Valente
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NYC schools are back after winter break, and questions are already swirling about what's to come. 

According to Governor Andrew Cuomo's Jan 4 press conference, schools in counties across the state will be able to stay open if the virus positivity rate exceeds the 9 percent threshold—a plan that was once reverse. If testing in a particular school shows that its positivity rate is below the community average, it is permitted to stay open. This will be at the district's discretion. (Look for the information at the 24-minute mark of the news conference.) 

So what does that mean for NYC schools?

During Mayor Bill de Blasio's Jan 4 press briefing, he stated that children have started returning to class (though middle school and high schools are still remote) and that the the positivity rate in NYC schools is at 0.68 percent—"much, much, much lower than anything we're seeing in NYC." Several weeks ago, he has indicated that he'd like NYC schools to remain open, even if the city enters a shutdown similar to last spring. 

The United Federation of Teachers, however, disagrees. On Jan 2, the Solidarity Caucus of the UFT started a petition on Change.org that urges the mayor and governor to close all NYC school buildings and switch back to remote learning. At the time of publication, the petition has earned over 3,600 signatures, inching towards its goal of 5,000. 

Stay tuned for more forthcoming information. 

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