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COVID In NYC: Schools Switching To All-Remote Learning Starting Thursday

Mayor Bill de Blasio said earlier this week if schools must close, he will work with the state to reopen them as soon and safely as possible.

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York City public schools will switch to all-remote learning starting Thursday.

“New York City has reached the 3% testing positivity 7-day average threshold,” the mayor’s office tweeted Wednesday afternoon. “Unfortunately, this means public school buildings will be closed as of tomorrow, Thursday Nov. 19, out an abundance of caution.”

The closure will remain in place until it is deemed safe for students and staff to return to classrooms.

WATCH: Mayor Bill de Blasio Announces NYC Public Schools Going To All-Remote Learning

“The city established the 3% infection rate threshold to make sure that schools did not become centers to spread the coronavirus. Since the 3% rate has been reached, education will continue but all students will be learning remotely,” United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew said in a statement. “Now it’s the job of all New Yorkers to maintain social distance, wear masks and take all other steps to substantially lower the infection rate so school buildings can re-open for in-person instruction.”

New York City has reached the 3% testing positivity 7-day average threshold. Unfortunately, this means public school buildings will be closed as of tomorrow, Thursday Nov. 19, out an abundance of caution. We must fight back the second wave of COVID-19.

— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) November 18, 2020

Mayor Bill de Blasio said earlier this week if schools were to close, he would work with the state to reopen them as soon and safely as possible. However, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday the plan for reopening is still unclear.

Outside New York City, schools in orange zones can reopen after four days if students and staff are tested upon return.

MORE: Mayor Says NYC Schools Will Stay Open Tuesday, City Reevaluating Standard For Switching To All-Remote

Cuomo said Wednesday that system will not work in the city because of “volume.”

“If New York City hits 3%, it makes it an orange zone. If New York City wanted to reopen schools, we’d have to design a different formula for New York City, because by volume, we couldn’t test every student in New York City,” he said.

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Approximately 300,000 students have participated in in-person learning this school year.

“I’m sad about this decision because so much good work has been put into keeping the schools open, and opening them up to begin win, let’s start there,” de Blasio said at an afternoon press conference. “But we set a very clear standard and we have to stick to that standard.

WATCH: Gov. Andrew Cuomo Gives Coronavirus Briefing

“We intend to come back and come back as quickly as possible,” he added.

De Blasio said in order for the school system to reopen it will have to meet an even higher health standard and testing will be more important than ever.

“I want to emphasize that testing will be crucial to the successful reopening of our schools,” the mayor said. “Everyone has to get engaged even more in testing. I guarantee you that part of that plan will be an even heavier emphasis on testing. Therefore, I want to say to everyone in our school communities, starting with parents and kids, we need to get those testing consent forms in, and even as we are in this moment of pause, we need to come back we need everyone to get those testing consent forms in, so we can get into an even deeper testing regime.”

Please stay with CBS2, CBSN New York and CBSNewYork.com for more on this developing story.

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