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NYC schools to close as city reaches 3 percent test positivity threshhold

City residents have tested positive at rate of 3 percent over the past seven days.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday ordered the shutdown of all in-person instruction in the nation's largest school system, citing the region's spread of coronavirus infections.

City residents have tested positive at rate of 3 percent over the past seven days, according to Department of Health and Mental Hygiene data, surpassing a standard set for school shutdowns.

"New York City has reached the 3% testing positivity 7-day average threshold," de Blasio tweeted. "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."

New York City's positivity rate was at 2.06 percent on Nov. 3, but has been on a slow, steady rise ever since, according to city health department data.

"Health and safety have always been our first priority," New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza said in a statement, announcing that, starting Thursday, all school "buildings will be closed, and all learning will proceed remotely, until further notice."

The New York City Department of Education serves about 1.1 million students, making it the nation's largest school system. The Los Angeles Unified School District, with more than 650,000 pupils, is America's second biggest.

The tri-state region of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut has endured yet another Covid-19 spike in recent weeks, leading New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo last week to order restaurants to close in-person dining at 10 p.m.

This is a developing story, please refresh here for updates.

Image: David K. LiDavid K. Li

David K. Li is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.

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