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Local News

de Blasio Confuses Residents by Closing Schools but Leaving Restaurants, Bars Open

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de Blasio Confuses Residents by Closing Schools but Leaving Restaurants, Bars Open

2020-11-19 18:04:18

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Bill de Blasio (Image source: Screenshot)

With the rise in coronavirus cases across the country, it has many worried about being together for the holidays and also increased concern for their everyday lives. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is concerned about schools and made the decision to close all the public schools in the city.

New York City has one of the lowest rates of COVID-19 infection in the country, so this move by the mayor is being read as confusing. Additionally, there's a demand to know why schools are closing, yet bars and restaurants, which have been blamed for the spread of the virus since the beginning, remain open.

"We must fight back the second wave of COVID-19," tweeted de Blasio on Wednesday when he announced he was closing all public school buildings.

Previously, officials had said schools would only close again if the percentage of test results in New York City were three percent.

This is nothing new to the city's public school students. Schools were closed throughout much of the pandemic, forcing students and teachers into remote learning. The schools were just reopened about eight weeks ago.

There have only been a few outbreaks involving children or schools that have been reported, according to the World Health Organization. The virus may be more limited in that space, or it could be that officials are more careful with children, so maybe there are fewer outbreaks because schools are more protected.

"The move is "ass-backwards," tweeted the director of global health in emergency medicine at Columbia University, Craig Spencer. He added, "Should parents drop their kids off at the bar, indoor restaurants, or the gym  all of which are still open?"

New York City is seeing increases in infection, yet it still has one of the lowest positivity rates in the country.

A 5-percent positivity rate is seen as grounds to safely reopen schools and businesses, according to the WHO. The positivity rate for New York City was 3 percent on Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

There isn't anyone in the city, though, who relishes going back to the earlier days of the pandemic and its restrictions. Other states and cities have tried to keep schools open.

Michigan and Philadelphia ordered high schools to be closed for the next three weeks. However, they are allowing elementary and middle schools to remain open.

"People are scared and stressed and need plans and assurances," said public advocate Jumaane Williams. "Today, we have only executives governing by haphazard tweets and combative press conferences, from City Hall and the State Capitol to the White House."

DeBlasio has said he was not pressured into making this move and referred to the 3-percent threshold as a "social contract" during a recent radio interview 

"Today is a tough day, but this is a temporary situation," he said in a news conference on Wednesday.

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