NYC mayor’s office defends closure of public schools amid snowstorm

NEW YORK — Facing criticism over a decision to close public schools Monday, after a late-season snowstorm, the mayor’s office defended its process, saying “safety first.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Sunday afternoon that New York City public schools would be closed on Monday, and school trips, after-school programs, adult education, YABC programs and PSAL activities are also cancelled.

The decision came amid forecasts that after a season of little to no snow, as much as 9 inches was possible in the city Sunday into Monday. But as with many snowstorms, systems shift last-minute and totals ultimately varied. Central Park saw 5 inches.

As some criticized the mayor’s decision, press secretary Eric Phillips tweeted that de Blasio had to think about “safety first,” and accept the criticism that might follow.

Phillips tweeted, in full: “Any mayor’s school-closure process: safety first; accept criticism will come; be very skeptical of bureaucracy’s urge to close; add all real-time expert forecast data you can; listen & question those marshaling the resources; try to make best call in time for parents to adjust.”

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