East Harlem school closed after COVID outbreak

P.S. 79 in East Harlem has been forced to close due to a COVID-19 outbreak, barely a week into New York City's new school year.

The school will close beginning Monday and will reopen on September 28. 

According to the Department of Education, the possible widespread exposure is linked to a pre-school orientation.

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, who has been pushing for a remote option, says that 19 cases have been confirmed, all among staff members. 

Students will now pivot to remote learning.

"We follow stringent guidance from health experts to prevent any further transmission by quarantining close contacts, closing classrooms and, if necessary, entire buildings," the DoE told FOX 5 NY in a statement. "Learning will continue during quarantine and we will provide the school resources and support to have a successful schools year."

According to the Department of Education's COVID Response Situation Room, as of Friday, there were a total of 812 COVID cases in schools citywide, made up of 487 students and 325 staff members. Meanwhile, between Friday and the first day of school, 367 classrooms have closed.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has defended the city's decision not to offer a remote learning option, stating that children need to be in the classroom for their well-being. 

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