Coronavirus News: 1st public school district in New York closes in response to COVID-19

Wednesday, March 4, 2020
Schools in Hastings-On-Hudson will be closed next two days
Joe Torres has more on the Westchester County schools impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.

NEW YORK -- As the novel coronavirus continues to spread across New York, many groups are thinking about how to avoid large gatherings - including schools.

There are 11 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New York -- and 10 of those cases are all connected to a 50-year-old lawyer who lives in New Rochelle and works in Manhattan.

Hastings-on-Hudson School District announced Wednesday that it will close all its schools Thursday and Friday to sanitize the building, making it the first public school district in the area to do so.

The school superintendent announced the plan after they were notified a parent whose children attend school in the district was physically present in a location that was closed due to contact with a person under quarantine.

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Some private schools are considering remote learning as disease spreads, but can the biggest public system in the country do that?

That was the question posed to NYC Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza on Wednesday.

Parents say they have no choice but to trust what they're being told: That city officials are doing as much as they can to protect their children.

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As the number of COVID-19 cases and suspected cases continue to increase, city officials revealed Wednesday that several teachers have come forward after returning from travel abroad.

At least one is self-quarantined with no symptoms.

But administrators say vigilance is being stepped-up throughout the city.

Under the city's action plan, all rooms in all schools will be cleaned and disinfected twice a week. And all schools will be well-stocked with cleaning and hygiene supplies.

All student exchange and study abroad programs are being canceled, along with any trips to virus-affected nations.

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The chancellor made clear that the last thing he wants to do is close the schools.

"I think we all agree that closing schools is probably the last option because of the myriad of issues that creates for not only students, parents, teachers, etc., so that's on the spectrum of last resorts," Carranza said.

NJ Burkett reports on the New York City Department of Education's plan during the coronavirus outbreak.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on coronavirus

New Yorkers can call the State hotline at 1-888-364-3065, where experts from the Department of Health can answer questions regarding the novel coronavirus.

New York State information about coronavirus

New York City information about coronavirus

John Hopkins' coronavirus tracking dashboard