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Union shows concern as final phase of in-person learning begins Thursday

Posted at 7:52 PM, Sep 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-01 13:08:49-04

NEW YORK CITY — The head of the teachers union said Wednesday he's calling for schools to be shut down in areas seeing an uptick in coronavirus cases.

President Michael Mulgrew said he had a conversation with Mayor Bill de Blasio about making the aggressive move to shut down schools now in at least 9 ZIP codes.

The test and trace team has been in those ZIP codes of late, urging the community to get tested and take precautions from spreading the virus.

De Blasio said based on the numbers and infection rates, there is no need to shut down schools at this time.

“We have a very unusual situation here where we have an uptick in a discreet set of zip codes and we are not seeing an interconnection to our public school system," the mayor said.

By Thursday, 1,600 schools will be open across New York City, and Mulgrew thinks the city is being put at risk by not shutting down schools in trouble areas now.

“You need to shut things down before you put the school system at risk," Mulgrew said, "and more importantly, before you put the city at risk. It is not going to remain in just that community. It's not the way the virus works. Make the decision to shut the schools down...if not we are going to get into another big fight."

The New York City Department of Education issued an interactive map showing all known cases of COVID-19 at city public schools. It's updated Sunday through Friday at 5:30 p.m., the department said.

Correction: This article initially misreported the number of schools opening Thursday.