City teachers brace switch to remote learning if COVID-19 cases keep rising; Cuomo encourages alternative
Teachers and students are wondering how much longer schools across the five boroughs will remain open as COVID-19 cases increase.
The United Federation of Teachers and the city made an agreement months ago that a rate of 3% over a seven-day rolling average would lead to all schools switching to a fully remote model.
As of Saturday morning, the city has had a seven-day rolling average of 2.47%.
Mayor de Blasio's office says they expect the positivity rate to increase as more results come in. The mayor also urged parents to have a plan in place if schools are forced to close.
However, Gov. Andrew Cuomo offered an alternative in a phone conference Saturday. He believes the city should not close schools with a lower infection rate than the surrounding area— even in red zones.
"You can test out of the red zone, so you test the students in the school and if that school is not presenting a problem, then allow the school to operate," Cuomo said. "I think New York City should seriously consider that."
Education ambassador and parent advocate Angela Torres says with the population density of the city, that wouldn't be feasible.
"You have kids that do not solely go to one school. So, you could have a child in middle school, another one in elementary school and another one in high school, and so the interaction is still there regardless of the fact that perhaps the infection is only in one particular school," Torres says.
Cuomo says he has the authority to keep schools open, but parents and educators have to reach a decision.