More NYC schools close as COVID-19 cases soar among students, staff

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The number of NYC students and staff testing positive for COVID-19 is rising, forcing the Department of Education to shutter more classrooms and schools to stem the spread.

On Friday,  48 students and 86 DOE employees, including teachers, tested positive — bringing the total since Sept. 14 to 5,821.

The results include cases reported by city test sites, heath-care facilities and private labs, in addition to the DOE’s in-school testing program, which was recently beefed up from monthly to weekly.

Those who tested positive include students and staff who attend class or work remotely, as well as those who come to schools.

The week of Dec. 8, Mayor de Blasio reopened city schools for roughly 190,000 kids eligible to attend in grades 3-K, and Pre-K-5 , and children with disabilities. That came nearly three weeks after de Blasio had ordered all buildings closed due to rising COVID-19 infection rates citywide.

The mayor has repeatedly called city schools “extraordinarily safe.”

But ever-rising rates since then have continued to force the “Situation Room” — a multi-agency task force that monitors COVID-19 cases in schools — to close more classrooms and buildings for cleaning and implement contact-tracing and quarantine measures for those exposed to the infected.

As of Friday, 1,040 classrooms are shuttered, 55 buildings (some with multiple schools) are closed for 24 hours, and 164 buildings are closed for 14 days.

DOE spokesman Nathaniel Styer said the reported cases cover about 2,850 3-K/Pre-K through 5th grade and District 75 schools open for in-person learning, and more than 400 Learning Bridges child-care sites.

“We continue to work in lockstep with public health officials who are clear that in-person learning poses no greater risk of COVID-19 transmission to students and staff and has not been the source of any widespread outbreaks,” he said.

“We have the gold standard in safety measures and respond quickly to positive cases in order to stop any potential spread within the school community.”

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