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NYCLU Statement on Possible School Closures

NEW YORK CITY – In response to rising positive test rates for COVID-19 in New York City, Mayor de Blasio announced that the city should brace for the possible re-closure of schools and is continuing to monitor the increasing COVID-19 positivity rate. In response, the NYCLU issued the following statement from executive director, Donna Lieberman:

“It has been almost eight months since the pandemic began and students were first sent home from schools. The impossible decision to pull children from schools in March was made out of justified concern. The DOE, like the rest of us, was caught by surprise and neither understood the challenges of remote learning nor provided adequate support for families. Now we can see that remote learning has been an abject failure for many of the students and families who rely on a public education most: students with disabilities, English-language learners, students of color, the youngest students, students who are homeless, and students from low-income communities.”

“The mayor has failed to provide adequately for successful remote education, and any decision about closing schools must be guided by sound public health policies and must not resort to a ‘one-size fits-all’ model unless absolutely necessary.  Eight months into the pandemic, it’s long past time for the City to explore creative solutions, including expanded access to outdoor and underutilized public spaces, to expand in-person learning and give educators the tools and authority they need to deliver supportive, child-centered education during this challenging time.”

“If students are compelled to leave the classroom again, we don’t know when they’ll be back. New York City cannot abandon children and families to the failures and inequities that have already been so devastating.  Our children cannot afford to lose a year of education and growth.”

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