NEW YORK - All New York City Public Schools will temporarily close to in-person instruction beginning Thursday due to increasing coronavirus cases, school officials announced.
"Buildings are CLOSED for in-person learning until further notice. All students who were learning in school buildings part of the week will transition to remote learning every day," said officials via social media.
Mayor Bill de Blasio had warned of the closure of all city school buildings once the positivity rate over a seven-day rolling average reached the threshold of three percent.
The rate in the city passed that mark on Wednesday the mayor announced via a tweet. The mayor's daily, morning briefing which typically includes an update on COVID statistics had been delayed for more than 3 hours.
Earlier in the afternoon, Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned New York City was on the verge of entering the 'orange zone' of COVID restrictions.
He said areas of the western part of the state were already seeing "astronomical" increases in positive test results.
Speaking from Albany, Cuomo said areas around Erie and Buffalo are going from a yellow zone to an orange zone due to the high rates of infection.
New regulations cap houses of worship at 33% capacity or a maximum of 25 people. Gatherings both indoor and outdoor are capped at 10 and high-risk non-essential businesses are being ordered to close. All schools in those areas are ordered to go to all-remote learning.
In New York City, a so-called yellow zone in Queens was being expanded to include Astoria, added the governor.
The state has been categorizing areas of high risk since last month with red representing full restrictions. Orange shaded areas have lesser restrictions and yellow shaded areas indicate restrictions could be forthcoming.
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Schools in an orange zone would not necessarily be forced to close, added Cuomo, as long as testing was conducting.
"Any school district in a microcluster, the schools can remain open in an orange zone but they have to do additional testing," said Cuomo.