NEW YORK – Staten Island parents and their representative on the New York City Council on Friday filed a preliminary injunction in an effort to reopen the city’s public schools closed this week by Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Councilman Joseph Borelli said Saturday that city leadership failed to provide adequate education through remote learning, making the city’s decision to stop in-person learning “irresponsible and unacceptable.”
“Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza have continued to fail our children over and over again,” Borelli said in a news release Saturday announcing the lawsuit. “Although they had 6 months to prepare for this year, they did not and our children are forced to pay the price.”
New York City public schools switched to remote classes only, indefinitely, on Thursday after the city reached the 3% positivity rate threshold set by Mayor de Blasio; there is no set schedule for when they would return to classes in person.
Parents were left in anxious limbo for a week as the city slowly approached the closing threshold of the mayor’s 3% positivity rate. It finally arrived that Wednesday, according to city data. Now families of 300,000 students are fighting once again to make sure their children have the tools they need to learn totally remotely indefinitely, and to make sure there is someone at home to care for them full time.
Mayor de Blasio says he expects the shutdown to last only a few weeks. He hopes to provide clarity on reopening the benchmarks before Thanksgiving after consulting with the State. Meanwhile, city officials say they understand the sudden – and all too familiar – inconvenience parents face once again.
While the mayor seemed confident that schools would be closed for a few weeks, Governor Andrew Cuomo was less optimistic, warning that “between now and January is very dangerous. A vaccine is on the way, but not in time to do a difference”.
Many frustrated parents wonder why bars and restaurants can stay open when they are at a higher risk of spreading COVID-19, and the city’s own data has shown a school positivity rate of less than 0.2%, a figure Cuomo says. which indicates that schools are safer than the streets of New York City.
For parents upset that restaurants and bars stay open while schools close, de Blasio had a stern message Thursday: It’s only a matter of time before they close, too.
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