NEW YORK — Schools throughout New York and New Jersey have announced closures amid the novel coronavirus outbreak, and now thousands have called on New York to close public schools and the CUNY system.
More than 104,000 have signed a petition for NYC schools as of Tuesday afternoon. There are currently 36 cases of COVID-19 in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio said. City officials have reassured parents, but many are concerned
"Our kids and the staff members are taking the subway to school every day, contacting a lot people on the subway and in school," the petition reads. "We think the alternative of having kids taking online class with teachers using Skype or any online teaching app is safer. Closing school should be the number one priority now. With today’s technology, we will still be able to progress academically as well as keep everyone safe; our kids, our teachers, and all the administrative people on the school. We think surviving is the main priority now."
Mayor de Blasio, during an interview on CNN, said he feels most parents don't want schools closed during "any crisis."
"Of course safety first, but they depend on the schools, they are a safe place for their kids and by the way, they want their kids to keep getting educated," he said. "So to me it's a high bar for a closure. One thing I think makes sense is if you have a situation in a school, a temporary closure"
A separate petition with nearly 25,000 signatures as of Tuesday afternoon is calling for the closure of CUNY schools.
"We request that CUNY, a public university, take precaution like other private/public schools and close (or move classes online) while state officials learn more about COVID-19 to limit the spreading of the virus along students and faculty," the petition reads. "Many of CUNY's students and faculty have been exposed to people who are now in quarantine or were previously in quarantine. Students education should not come at the cost of their health."
University Student Senate Chairperson Timothy Hunter has also called on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to close CUNY Schools and encourage CUNY to transition to online classes.
"Anything less is a disservice to our students, their families, and our institution's mission," Hunter said.