Mayor Bill de Blasio admitted shockingly on Wednesday that he had closed urban public schools due to the rising COVID-19 infection rate without a plan to reopen it – and took sole responsibility for the blunder.
“Honestly, I have to hold myself accountable,” de Blasio admitted at a town hall press conference when a journalist asked why a school reopening plan had not been drawn up before ordering that school buildings be closed indefinitely last week for personal learning. .
“The better situation would clearly have been if this plan had been developed in advance,” de Blasio admitted while not offering a solution to the problem.
Parents and city officials alike blew de Blasio out of the bony-headed movement that came despite the state not making such shutters or restrained restaurants or other businesses more closely linked to the spread of the virus.
Sam Pirozzolo, vice president of the NYC Parents Union, whose son attends a high school on Staten Island, called Chancellor Richard Carranza de Blasio and Schools at the time of the coronavirus epidemic to treat urban education “beyond incompetence” when asked about the mayor’s rare mea culpa.
“It’s not real education. It’s getting worse and worse, ”Pirozzolo mused about the distant and hybrid school plan.
Haile Rivera, whose two children were enrolled in PS 91 in the Bronx, said: “This decision to close the school only added another confusion and frustration.”
But the father said of de Blasio, “Eventually the man admitted that he had made a mistake.”
“But by opening schools in New York, Blasio tried to show that he was leading the nation. He’s got some headlines, ”said Rivera, who will start at city council next year. – Then he closed the schools. How embarrassing. “
The de Blasio administration found over the summer that personal learning will stop at every Big Apple public school if the city-wide coronavirus infection rate reaches 3 percent of the rolling seven-day average.
That figure was hit by the nose last Thursday, but de Blasio replaced all students in urban schools with 100 percent distance learning.
As a plan to reopen schools was not available, despite city data for weeks showing that the COVID-19 infection rate was getting closer to the 3 per cent threshold and the mayor was asked about it almost daily by journalists, de Blasio administration has already struggled with what should be the next step.
“I think what actually happened, as with all COVIDs, was a moving target. We tried to find out if there were any measures we could take to avoid exceeding 3 percent. , ”Said de Blasio, who first admitted last week that a plan to reopen schools had not been made.
The mayor, who was reported by the Post Office in October, took long walks before and after his daily press conferences, instead of busy at the town hall, explaining: “It was really our energy, to carry out the tests, and we tried to take measures that we thought to prevent the original measurement from being struck. “
“And frankly, we’re putting a lot of energy into all of us to continually improve schools and try to answer the many questions raised by blended learning, distance learning, and more.” he said.
But Blasio nonetheless was in possession of the basic fact that he should have been ready with a contingency plan in case the city’s coronavirus infection rate reached at least seven percent above a seven-day average.
“I think we didn’t have a plan B and we should have had a plan B, but I also understand why we didn’t, because we really did so many everyday, hour-by-hour issues, trying to prevent it from reaching that three percent.” He told.
But Blasio ordered the shutters for public schools, despite saying the schools were “very safe.”
According to the Ministry of Education, random internal tests of students and staff in school buildings consistently resulted in a minimal infection rate of around 0.19 percent.
But Blasio promised on Wednesday that details of the reopening plan will be revealed next week.
Many in New York have pointed to the apparent incongruity of school closures amid the COVID-19 strike, while Big Apple restaurants and other businesses were not ordered by the state.
Pirozzolo called the 3 percent threshold for school closure “arbitrary” and “false”.
“It’s all BS. It’s not based on science, he whispered.
Under Mayor Eric Nadelstern, Mike Bloomberg, the former deputy chancellor of the school echoed these remarks, saying the 3 per cent threshold was “set too low”.
“NYC’s school system is in chaos,” Nadelstein said, adding, “It’s nice that de Blasio admitted he doesn’t know what he’s doing. There’s a mayor who has no plan and no chancellor.” [Richard Carranza] who has no idea. “
Nadelstern said there was “real damage” to the city’s school system – the biggest in the nation – and he predicted that parents would withdraw children due to inadequate distance education and uncertain policies.
“I think it’s important for the public to be aware of this [de Blasio] he decided that was so, ”said consultant Mark Treyger (D-Brooklyn), who chairs the chairman of the Education Committee. “It’s not the best New York City can do, it’s the best it can do.”
State Senator John Liu (D-Queens), who is chairman of the Senate’s New York Board of Education, said: “The sad reality is that DOE officials, along with teachers and their principals, could have prepared a comprehensive plan for contingencies by September. , but the mayor arbitrarily pursued personal schooling to the detriment of the vast majority of students and families. “
“Schools would do better if de Blasio had less control,” Liu said.
Meanwhile, the latest urban data show that the Big Apple shows an infection rate of 3.05 percent on the seven-day rolling average, while daily urban positivity is 2.74 percent.
These data also show an increase in hospital care on Monday: 141 new patients were admitted to city hospitals who were suspected of having COVID-19, and 45 percent gave a positive test.
“Overall, our hospitals are performing very, very well, but that leap is a cause for concern,” de Blasio said.
The city’s seven-day rolling average for new viral cases is 1447.