NYC schools chancellor defends keeping schools open during snow storm, talks COVID testing

Local News

Students and teachers have felt disruption this week as they returned to school from winter break – between a surge in COVID cases and winter weather creating messy conditions.

More than 8 inches of snow was reported in some parts of New York City. Mayor Eric Adams, however, decided to keep city schools open.

Schools Chancellor David Banks told PIX11 News Friday they decided to keep schools open as many children need it.

Schools serve as a place for them to get hot meals and be taken care of, according to the chancellor. 

“Schools are sanctuaries for our young people. They’re not just buildings.”

When asked if they are still on board with remote learning on snow days, Banks said it is an option if the city ever reaches a point where going to school is not safe, adding that New Yorkers have dealt with much more snow in the past.

In terms of COVID-19, the schools chancellor said they are monitoring cases on a regular basis.

He said the number of cases are going up because more testing is being done.

When asked what the threshold is to close schools and go remote, Banks said everything will be looked at on a case-by-case basis, but they will never do anything to put a child in danger.

Banks said “all options are on the table” as the teachers union and parents have voiced concerns, calling for remote learning options. 

“Together, we’re going to work to come up with the best solutions and the best path forward,” he said.

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