You are reading

City to End Two-Case Rule That Closes School Buildings for Ten Days

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter visit a classroom(Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

April 5, 2021 By Allie Griffin

The New York City Department of Education (DOE) is revoking a controversial rule that closed public school buildings for 10 days if two unlinked COVID-19 cases were found in the school community.

The DOE will no longer shutter schools for in-person classes due to two cases of the virus, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday. A new rule will soon go into effect, he said, although the details have yet to be released.

Parents whose children are enrolled in the city’s hybrid learning model — in which they attend school in-person on some days and remotely on other days — have long argued that the constant closures have created an unstable learning environment. It also creates stress, they say, when the closures leave them scrambling to find childcare.

Many parents and even some teachers have been calling on the city to change the rule for weeks.

“I heard one request over and over again from parents, from teachers, from principals, from families all over New York City — improve the stability and consistency of instruction by changing the two-case rule,” Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter said at the press briefing with the mayor this morning.

“I heard this from everyone and I am so happy today that we are answering the call.”

De Blasio said the city is able to reverse the strict rule due to the proven safety measures required at schools along with the fact that many teachers and other school staff have been vaccinated for COVID-19.

“We’ve looked at the data, we’ve looked at the science and we have come to the conclusion that it’s time for a change,” he said. “We will be replacing the two-case rule–and in the coming days, we will be announcing a replacement rule and then that will be implemented.”

De Blasio didn’t reveal the date that the existing rule will no longer be in effect.

The state must also approve the city’s decision to remove the rule as well as its new policy.

The union representing the city’s teachers, the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), has been reluctant to change the rule and took a swipe at de Blasio after the announcement.

“Any change to the two-case rule has to take the safety of children and their families into account, not the Mayor’s need for a Monday morning announcement,” UFT President Michael Mulgrew said in a statement.

While more than 65,000 school teachers and staffers have been vaccinated for COVID-19, children are currently ineligible for the vaccine.

“Students now account for two-thirds of the new infections,” Mulgrew said. “We have been talking to our medical experts, and we will continue to discuss these issues with the city.”

He added that the two-case rule remains in effect until the the state approves its disbandment.

“A proclamation is not a plan,” he said. “The city can’t change the two-case rule without Albany’s approval.”

De Blasio said he would work with the union to develop the replacement rules.

He also announced Monday that the DOE has extended the deadline for parents to enroll their children in the hybrid learning model from Wednesday to Friday.

He decided to extend the opt-in window, since the rule change may make a difference as to whether parents elect to send their children back to the classroom– as opposed to 100 percent remote learning.

“We wanted to give parents this information today and give them the rest of the week ,’till the end of Friday, on whether they want to opt in,” de Blasio said.

Porter said the change will improve the quality of the education being offered.

“Speaking as an educator, the consistency will do wonders for instruction,” she said. “Without interruptions due to building closures, teachers will be able to continue to connect more deeply with their students and better understand their academic needs.”

email the author: [email protected]
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

BP launches new advisory panel for youth to become civically engaged in the future of Queens

In an effort to get more young people involved in civics, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards has created a new advisory panel known as the Youth and Young Adult Council to introduce the “youngest and fiercest” community advocates to both community service and organization.

Members of the advisory body will advocate concerns through means of community engagement by participating in one of two cohorts. The first will be made up of high school representatives between the ages of 13 and 17, while the second cohort will be comprised of young adults between the ages of 18 and 25.

‘Where do we go now?’ Michaels set to close its doors in Fresh Meadows next month

The Michaels located at 187-04 Horace Harding Expwy. in Fresh Meadows will be permanently closing its doors on Feb. 23. The announcement that Michaels will be leaving the Fresh Meadows Shopping Center has led to an outpouring of reactions from many community members.

“We know this is disappointing to our customers in Queens, but we hope to continue to serve them at our other locations in New York City or online at Michaels.com,” a spokesperson for Michaels said in a statement to Patch.com.

Queens senator holds Lunar New Year celebration at Tangram in Flushing

Hundreds of revelers joined state Senator John Liu for a Lunar New Year celebration Friday night at Tangram in Downtown Flushing. The event featured free food from 25 local restaurants, as well as musical and cultural performances and giveaways.

Liu was joined at the event by several local leaders, including Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz, Assemblyman Edward Braunstein, Councilwomen Sandra Ung and Linda Lee and many more. Many of the leaders spoke about the importance of this celebration to the Queens community as they celebrated the start of the Year of the Rabbit.

These Queens eateries are participating in the upcoming NYC Restaurant Week

NYC Restaurant Week is underway, so nix that skillet and bring family and friends to your favorite neighborhood spot, or get inspired and break bread somewhere new and different. During this special citywide culinary event, food-lovers will enjoy curated menus and prix-fixe prices that are easy on the wallet.

Bookings began on Jan. 17 and are available until Feb. 12, and you can reserve a table at 30 participating Queens restaurants, along with hundreds more across the five boroughs.

Flushing BID launches free online raffle to support local businesses in the community

The Flushing Business Improvement District (BID), on Friday, Jan. 20, announced the launch of Lucky7, a free online raffle to celebrate the Lunar New Year, promote local businesses, and bring shoppers from other regions to downtown Flushing. 

“This event is to celebrate the culture in Downtown Flushing. The food culture, shopping culture, but most importantly to celebrate the Lunar New Year culture in Downtown Flushing,” said Dian Yu, executive director of the Flushing BID. “This is a unique opportunity for people not familiar with Downtown Flushing to truly experience the food and fun that’s only available in Flushing.”

Queens lawmaker reintroduces legislation to make Lunar New Year a federal holiday

As the Asian American community prepares to begin celebrating Lunar New Year on Sunday, Jan. 22, Queens Congresswoman Grace Meng on Friday reintroduced a package of legislation to commemorate the holiday. 

Meng’s legislative Lunar New Year package includes the Lunar New Year Day Act, which would establish Lunar New Year as the 12th federal holiday recognized across the United States. It also includes a resolution, “Recognizing the cultural and historical significance of Lunar New Year,” that commemorates the long history and explains the cultural importance of the holiday. 

Lunar New Year ‘special celebration’ held at Queensborough Community College in Bayside

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz joined Councilwomen Sandra Ung and Linda Lee on Wednesday, Jan. 18, for a special celebration in honor of the Lunar New Year at the Student Union Building at Queensborough Community College in Bayside.

Ung escaped the Cambodian genocide as a child, and her family emigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old. Now she represents Flushing with its enormous Asian American population. She said she is proud to see how many Lunar New Year celebrations she sees around the city compared to when she first arrived in Queens.

BP Richards, local leaders speak with small business owners in Flushing in effort to improve the neighborhood

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards joined several Queens leaders Wednesday morning for a walking tour through Flushing to get input from the community on how to improve the neighborhood.

The Jan. 18 tour comes in the wake of public safety concerns in downtown Flushing. While crime was a main concern among the business owners Richards spoke with Wednesday, there were other areas they wished to see improvements in across the area, including traffic and sanitation issues.