Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York, speaks during a press conference at Glen Island Park in New Rochelle, New York, U.S., on Friday, March 13, 2020.
Angus Mordant | Bloomberg | Getty Images
New York City’s public school system will begin to shut down this week in a major effort to combat the spread of the coronavirus, according to the governor’s office.
All public schools in Westchester, Long Island and NYC will close this week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Sunday.
“NYC must have a plan in place in the next 24 hours for childcare for essential workers and a plan to make sure kids will continue to get the meals they need,” Cuomo wrote on Twitter. “NYC schools will close early this week.”
NYC’s school district is the largest school system in the country, with over 1.1 million students in more than 1,800 schools. The decision to close public schools came after mounting pressure from teachers and parents calling for the suspension of classes.
The main obstacle to mass school closures were concerns that essential health and emergency workers would have to stay at home to take care of children, and that children in need would not receive food. But health experts have called for “social distancing” to slow the spread of the deadly virus.
Other major cities including Los Angeles and Boston have already decided to temporarily close schools.
The number of confirmed virus cases in New York has reached over 700 and three people have died. U.S. cases have surged over the last two weeks from about 100 confirmed infections on March 1 to almost 3,300 on Sunday, according to data compiled by the World Health Organization, the CDC and Johns Hopkins University.
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