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NYC teachers union suggests closing 80 public schools in COVID-19 hotspots

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Posted at 8:27 PM, Sep 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-29 20:27:22-04

NEW YORK CITY — New York City's teachers union suggested shuttering 80 public schools in neighborhoods experiencing coronavirus upticks.

Nine Brooklyn and Queens ZIP codes accounted for 25 percent of the city's positive test results in the last two weeks, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio. The city has made efforts to squash the increase, but United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew said it might not be enough.

"We have advised the city that if infection rates in these areas cannot quickly be contained and reduced, the city must adopt a strategy to close public facilities — including the more than 80 public schools — in these hard-hit neighborhoods," he said. "We cannot put the entire city at risk by allowing COVID rates to rise."

Mulgrew's suggestion came as elementary school students returned to class.

New York City's reopening plan includes a switch to remote instruction if the citywide infection rate reaches 3 percent on a seven-day rolling average. The positivity level on a seven-day rolling average as of Tuesday was 1.38 percent.

"The city can’t sit by and let the virus spread in these or other zip codes for days until it drives the overall city rate above the seven-day threshold," Mulgrew said.