New York City is set to close its public school system — the largest in the nation — on Monday in an effort to halt the spread of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo first announced the decision Sunday afternoon.
NYC must have a plan in place in the next 24 hours for childcare for essential workers and a plan to make sure kids will continue to get the meals they need.
NYC schools will close early this week.
This action is necessary to reduce density and mitigate the spread of #COVID19.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) March 15, 2020
Shortly after Cuomo’s announcement, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the move to close schools through at least April 20 and potentially for the rest of the school year.
Calling it a “very troubling moment,” de Blasio said during a press conference that he was “just distraught at having to take this action, but “became convinced over the course of today” that he was left with “no other choice.”
BREAKING: NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio announces New York City public schools will be closed as of Monday.
— ABC News (@ABC) March 15, 2020
Earlier Sunday, de Blasio expressed his reluctance toward closing down schools during an appearance on CNN, citing how thousands of children rely on public schools for daily meals and that public safety issues could arise from a shutdown.
“I’m very reticent to shut down schools for a variety of reasons,” de Blasio said. “Not just because that’s where a lot of kids get their only good meals, where they get adult supervision, especially teenagers, who otherwise would be out on the streets.”
"I'm very reticent to shut down schools for a variety of reasons," NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio says. "Not just because that's where a lot of kids get their only good meals, where they get adult supervision, especially teenagers, who otherwise would be out on the streets" #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/u1JZi6NEpk
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) March 15, 2020
The closure of NYC schools comes after Los Angeles, Houston, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C. announced its public school shutdowns.
Schools aren’t the only places experiencing shutdowns amid the coronavirus outbreak. On Sunday, both Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Ohio governor Mike DeWine ordered bars and restaurants in their states to close in light of the outbreak.