State Watch

NYC Schools chancellor sends memo to prepare for period of ‘fully remote learning’

New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza on Friday sent an email to principals to prepare for all classes temporarily shifting to fully remote learning amid a rise in coronavirus cases.

“Out of an abundance of caution, and to keep our school communities safe, I am asking all schools to be prepared for a brief time of fully remote learning, system-wide,” Carranza wrote, according to the email obtained by radio station WCBS.

“And while no decision has been made about a system-wide transition to remote learning, as every great school leader knows, we must be prepared for every scenario,” he added.

Schools have proven to be one of the safest places in the city amid the pandemic, with a positive rate of 0.18 percent, according to WCBS. However, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) warned this week that schools will switch to fully remote learning if the area hits a transmission rate of 3 percent.

“We had to prove to people it’d work, and we have been able to do that, but we also said if this situation changed in the city, we’re going to have a very, very tough standard. And we’re sticking to that standard,” de Blasio said at a briefing Thursday, according to the radio station.

The 3 percent benchmark is fast approaching.

New York has seen an alarming surge of coronavirus cases after maintaining a low positivity rate for most of the summer and early fall.

The city, which was the U.S. epicenter of the pandemic in March, recorded 1,663 new cases Thursday. There has been an average of 1,360 cases per day in the past week, an 89 percent increase from the average 14 days earlier, according to The New York Times coronavirus tracker.

Parts of Staten Island and Queens are among the new COVID-19 hot spots in the city.

The warning from the school chancellor comes as the U.S. has seen a massive surge in coronavirus cases nationwide. The country recorded a whopping 152,000 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, according to the Times tracker, setting a grim record for one-day case counts.

New York state has recently changed its coronavirus protocols for visitors. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced at the end of October that out-of-state visitors would require a negative COVID-19 test three days before arrival. The move replaced the state’s 14-day quarantine requirement. 

Tags Andrew Cuomo Bill de Blasio Coronavirus COVID-19 New York New York City Pandemic positivity rate Remote learning Social distancing

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