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New York City schools closed Tuesday

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NEW YORK (PIX11) -- All schools in New York City are closed Tuesday due to a snowstorm that was anticipated to be one of "the worst in the city's history."

The mayor made the announcement Monday at a news conference.

"My message to all New Yorkers is prepare for something worse than we have seen before," Mayor Bill de Blasio said. "Don't underestimate this storm."

Regents exams scheduled for Tuesday for city high school students have been postponed.

Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina said the regents that have been rescheduled are Global History and Geography, Integrated Algebra, Comprehensive Testing in Writing and in Mathematics for special education students.

For the regents exams that took place Monday, Farina said they were granted permission to have the tests start an hour early so students could get home sooner.

Farina emphasized safety and that residents should stay home.

"It is really important also that parents consider the safety of their children, and in the coming days – between today and tomorrow – that they keep the kids home, and reading a good book is not a bad way to spend a day off from school," Farina said.

All after-school activities and programs scheduled for Monday were canceled.

When asked why de Blasio waited until Monday to close schools, he said the school move "is not a light decision."

"Obviously, we don't want to disrupt children's education if we can avoid it," de Blasio said. "But we also wanted to make sure that we were clear about this weather pattern – there was no question that it was consistent with what we understood. That’s why, yesterday, we made clear to parents all over the city, the likelihood of school being off tomorrow so they could prepare"

Last year, de Blasio made the controversial decision to not close schools despite the weather. Before this storm, NYC schools had closed 11 times since 1978.

The mayor said that a decision about closing schools on Wednesday will be made later as they continue to track the storm.

"We're going to give people some prior sense of where we're going as soon as we have a sense of how bad this is," de Blasio said.