More classrooms shut down in NYC COVID cluster zones, parents up in arms

COVID-19 clusters have been reported in Brooklyn and Queens in New York City as well as Rockland, Orange, Nassau and Binghamton counties in New York
NEW YORK (WABC) -- The new restrictions in COVID-19 hot spots mean more schools are closing across New York City.

You can find your zone at

Thirty-three more public schools in 61 buildings closed on Thursday because they are in coronavirus cluster zones designed by state health officials. These new closures were announced just 12 hours before school was to begin.

Click here to view the cluster maps if using the mobile app

One reason the decision to close some of the schools is not sitting well with parents here in Forest Hills is that this ZIP code isn't in one of the city's hotspots.

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Parents protested Wednesday, unhappy that PS 196 was even being considered for a temporary closure.

The ZIP code only has an infection rate of 1.98%.

While the city is looking at ZIP codes, the state is making their decisions on closures block by block.

They believe the case load in this area is high enough to stop in-person learning here for at least two weeks.

Parents aren't happy with that decision.

"I feel safe sending my child to school. Many teachers feel safe sending their child to school. You do not have this power to dictate to us what we do on a daily basis. It not only ruins our lives, it ruins our child's lives," a parent said.

In all, 124 schools are closed in 169 school buildings:
- 66 are in the red zone
- 87 are in the orange zone
- 16 closed Tuesday are actually in the yellow zone, they will remain closed

These closures will last for at least two weeks, when they will then take another look and decide if they need to continue remote only learning.

Additionally, another 308 public school buildings in the yellow zone are now required to conduct weekly testing of students and staff. Weekly testing will begin next Friday.

Separately, the city will start its mandatory monthly testing program beginning Friday, as planned.

Rules in the red area:

-Houses of worship - 25% capacity, 10 people maximum
-Mass gatherings prohibited
-Nonessential businesses closed
-Takeout dining only
-Schools closed

Rules in the orange area:

-Houses of worship - 33% capacity, 25 people maximum
-Mass gatherings - 10 people maximum, indoor and outdoor
-Businesses - Closing high risk nonessential business such as gyms and personal care
-Outdoor dining only with 4 person max per table
- Schools: remote learning only

Rules in the yellow area

-Houses of worship -50% capacity
-Mass gatherings - 25 people maximum, indoor and outdoor
-Businesses open
-Indoor and outdoor dining
-Schools - Mandatory weekly testing of students/teachers/staff for in-person classes. Testing will start next week.

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced new rules to help fight COVID clusters, including closing nonessential businesses in the main and surrounding areas of a hot spot.

Click here find out if you are in a COVID hot spot and what new restrictions apply.

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