Mayor Bill de Blasio — facing a coup from parents and teachers over his refusal to close city schools amid the coronavirus –has finally succumbed to the mounting pressure and agreed to shut them down, well-placed sources told The Post on Sunday.
The closure will occur early in the week, a source added. Gov. Cuomo told 1010 WINS radio that “all schools in downstate New York will be closing,” specifically adding Tuesday or Wednesday.
Hizzoner had been stubbornly repeating his opposition to the move, insisting he was “very reticent” because of such things as leaving healthcare workers to scramble for childcare amid the spread of the coronavirus.
The about-face came soon after The Post published an online editorial Sunday urging him to “close the schools!” — reflecting increasingly harsh criticism over de Blasio’s failure to do what scores of other districts around the metro area, state and country have done to contain the deadly and particularly contagious coronavirus.
The city teachers union had vowed to file a complaint with the state Department of Labor on Monday arguing that the schools were “unsafe” to be in, while Queens Borough President Sharon Lee urged parents to keep their kids home from school even before de Blasio finally made his announcement.
De Blasio was expected to make the announcement at an evening press conference.
The move also came shortly after Gov. Andrew Cuomo reversed course on the issue, too, and said it is now time to close down the city public-school system.
“Bureaucracies do not adjust quickly, but sometimes they have to, and this is one of those times that they have to, and I want them to sit down, figure it out,” the governor told reporters earlier in the afternoon.
The governor had also said he had concerns about what city healthcare and emergency responders with school-age kids would do if schools closed, as well as over students who rely on government food programs during the week.
De Blasio acknowledged earlier Sunday that his administration did not have a finalized contingency plan in place for an across-the-board closure, despite weeks of warnings about the contagion.
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