Disaster: NYC schools to close again due to small rise in COVID positivity rate

Any parent with the wherewithal to uproot and leave this rapidly failing city should do so. The mayor is a moron, the governor is a bigger moron, and this pandemic will last another six months in a *best-case* scenario. They’re not going to get better at this.


If you’ve got the dough, put your kids into private school tomorrow and start thinking about other places you might want to live. America’s full of possibilities! And virtually every last one is cheaper than NYC.

From the beginning, the priority in New York and elsewhere should have been keeping schools open and closing whatever else needed to be closed to limit community spread. Kids are the priority, as the loss they suffer — intellectual development — can’t be made whole by the government after the fact. If this country weren’t such dysfunctional garbage, Congress would have already passed a new round of COVID disaster relief to compensate bars and restaurants for a targeted six-month lockdown. That would hold down infections across New York, making it safer for kids to go to school.

But we are dysfunctional garbage, and New York is led by morons, so instead they did it backwards. Bars and restaurants are open right now (although in limited capacity) and schools are shutting down. The damage to New York City’s kids will be incalculable, and likely permanent.

New York City’s entire public school system will shutter on Thursday, Chancellor Richard A. Carranza wrote in an email to school principals, in a worrisome signal that a second wave of the coronavirus has arrived. Schools have been open for in-person instruction for just under eight weeks…

The shutdown — which was prompted by the city reaching a 3 percent test positivity rate over a seven-day rolling average — is perhaps the most significant setback for New York’s recovery since the spring, when the city was a global epicenter of the outbreak…

That dynamic has infuriated parents run ragged by fluctuating school schedules and frustrated public health experts who have been pushing for more in-person instruction. It has also led to calls for the mayor and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to make keeping classrooms open their highest priority…

In a stroke of bad timing, New York said last month that families had only until Sunday to decide if they wanted their children to return to in-person classes at all, likely until at least next September. Parents have had to make that decision while knowing that schools could close at any moment.


Imagine if you decided in the last few days to send your kid back to school, made plans to return to work, and saw this news float across the wire. Worse, imagine if your kid’s been back in class for weeks and you’ve already returned to work since then. What do you do now?

You’ve got less than a day to figure it out.

There’s no reason why a three-percent positivity rate should be some red line that triggers a full shutdown of the school system citywide. It’s true that that rate is higher than the one-percent baseline that New York enjoyed through the summer and fall but it’s still remarkably low compared to nearly every other state in the country. Florida’s positivity rate is 8.7 percent. Texas’s is a hair over 12. Even California, where Gavin Newsom has been as aggressive as Cuomo in keeping things closed, has a higher rate than New York at 5.2 percent. Meanwhile, it’s widely known by now that schools are conspicuously *safer* from COVID than the communities around them are. Here’s the latest data on NYC schools from Brown University. Cases among students and staff have increased lately but only negligibly so:

The community case rate, among more than 6,000 responses, was 13 people. Among school staff it’s 12. Among students it’s eight. That follows a study done last month that found just 28 infections among 16,000 staff and students tested. They’re shutting down New York’s public education system at a moment when schools still have lower rates of infection than the city at large does. I mean:


All I can think is, “I can’t wait to read the rationale for this in the sequel to Cuomo’s self-serving pandemic book.” I assume that’ll be out in the next few months, as he’s already proved that he won’t wait until COVID is defeated before posturing about his handling of it in print.

And it’s not like he has anything better to do with his time.

Don’t save all your contempt for Cuomo, though. Matt Welch knows who’s to blame for the absurdly low three-percent threshold for shutdowns:

The only reason de Blasio came up with such an artificially low number is that it was the best this dolt could do in ­negotiations with the United Federation of Teachers.

As the Reason Foundation’s ­director of school choice, Corey A. DeAngelis, has documented, the single biggest factor in determining whether a school system opens its doors is not the underlying COVID-19 rate but the comparative power of the relevant teachers’ union. Just follow the science!

You know what will still be open when the 3 percent trigger shuts down the in-person education option for 900,000 kids? Day-care centers. And private schools. So strange that the public-school system is losing whole swaths of the population! It’s hard to imagine a better ­advertisement for education provided by non-governmental means.


That’s the only thing mitigating the sympathy I, a product of NYC private schools, feel for public-school parents who can afford private schooling: They knew what they were getting into. You get what you pay for, chumps. Any conservative knows that.

Here’s America’s worst governor showing off the personal charm that’s earned him so many fans in American media. In lieu of an exit question, let me gently remind you again that hard choices being made locally are a direct result of Congress’s complete moral and political abdication in addressing the crisis the country’s now facing. Not only are stimulus negotiations not going on, it’s not even clear at this point who’s supposed to be leading them on the Republican side. In fact, forget what I said about finding a nicer city to live in. Find a nicer country.

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John Stossel 5:30 PM | July 13, 2024