NYC Shuts Down Nation’s Largest Public School System To Fight Coronavirus

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MARCH 14: An exterior view of public school P.S. 175 Henry H Garnet in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan as the coronavirus continues to spread across the United States on March 14, 2020 in Ne... NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MARCH 14: An exterior view of public school P.S. 175 Henry H Garnet in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan as the coronavirus continues to spread across the United States on March 14, 2020 in New York City. The World Health Organization declared coronavirus (COVID-19) a global pandemic on March 11th. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images) MORE LESS

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.

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.”

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.”

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.

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