Mayor de Blasio Keeps Schools Open for Another Day, Would Prefer to Keep Them Open

Mayor de Blasio Keeps Schools Open for Another Day, Would Prefer to Keep Them Open

By Yehudit Garmaise

   As COVID-19 rates continue to rise, New York City Schools will stay open for one more day, as the citywide COVID positivity rate remains under 3%, the threshold at which Mayor Bill de Blasio said he will close the city’s 1,700 public schools. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, however, on Friday, said that COVID is spread not in schools, but in bars, restaurants, and gyms, which remain open with a curfew of 10pm. 

     In addition, Jay K. Varma, MD, the mayor’s senior advisor for public health, has repeatedly said that COVID transmission is surprisingly low, especially in elementary schools.

    This morning the mayor also said, that “elementary schools have been a particular bright spot” in terms of low transmission of coronavirus.

    So, why, the mayor was asked, why wouldn’t the city completely close bars, restaurants, and gyms, and prioritize keeping schools open, as many European countries have done?

   “The decision on the bars, restaurants, and gyms…is the state’s role, and that is why we are having constant conversation with the state what that correct mix of actions could be,” Mayor de Blasio told a BoroPark24 reporter this morning. “I have talked to the governor about it several times, our teams are talking to the governor about it constantly.”

    Those conversations with the governor, the mayor hoped, would soon result in further clarifications about what should stay open during as the city braces itself during the return of rising COVID positivity rates.

    The reasoning for keeping open bars, restaurants, and gyms seems to be not about prioritizing them, but about keeping New York City business owners financially afloat.

   “We are all cognizant of wanting to protect people’s livelihoods, which have taken such a horrible hit here,” the mayor said. “We want to be fair to people, after everything people have gone through, so that is in our minds.”

   In his own defense, Mayor de Blasio said that he has always wanted to keep the schools open.

   “I am the one who wanted to open schools against all odds,” the mayor said. “Plenty of people told me not to do it. I believed it was the right thing to do, and it would really benefit our kids and families, and it has.

   “I want to keep them open. If we close them, it would temporarily, to re-set the equation, given the new conditions we are in.”

   Despite the rising COVID rates, the mayor sounded optimistic about the city’s future.

   “As things get better, and they will get better because a vaccine a-coming, and we are finding out more and more every day on how to fight back this disease,” the mayor said.

Credit: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office.

 

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