New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is urging New Yorkers to not become complacent as hospitalizations begin to stabilize; David Lee Miller reports.
“After very careful consideration, I announce today that the New York City public schools will remain closed for the remainder of this school year,” he said at a press conference. “There is nothing easy about this decision.”
De Blasio closed the schools in New York City in mid-March amid mounting pressure as the coronavirus spread through the city. They were initially closed until April 20, the end of spring break. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo since extended the closings of schools across the state until April 29.
De Blasio said Saturday that he had been resistant initially to closing schools because people rely on them, not only for education but for care during the day and even food and other social services such as healthcare and laundry.
“It was literally a painful decision to close the schools because we feared at that moment that we would not be able to bring them back, and I said that bluntly from the very beginning that if we close the schools there was a very strong likelihood we wouldn’t be able to bring them back for this school year,” he said.
“We knew that would be a really huge problem in terms of what we would lose in the education of our children, what families would lose, so many families who depend and still depend on our school system for food, for their children, for the safe place for their kids to be, we knew a lot was being lost, but we also knew…it was the right thing to do to protect everyone,” he said.
New York City has been one of the areas hardest hit by the virus, even despite strong stay-at-home orders and other restrictions put in place at both the state and city level. As of Saturday, the state had 174,489 cases and 7,887 deaths — with the city making up 94,409 of those cases and 5,820 of the deaths.
Cuomo said on Wednesday that while the curve was “flattening” in New York, but he didn’t know if the state would ever get back to no new cases.
“I don’t think we return to normal. I don’t think we return to yesterday,” Cuomo said at a press conference. “I think if we’re smart, we achieve a new normal.”
Fox News’ Morgan Phillips contributed to this report.