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New NYC school closure rules unveiled

On Thursday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced new,

On Thursday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced new rules governing when individual New York City public schools must close due to coronavirus cases.    Credit: NY Mayot's Office

Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday detailed the new, looser rules governing when individual New York City public schools must close due to coronavirus cases, after announcing earlier this week that the so-called "two-case rule" would be scrapped.

The new procedure, which goes into effect Monday, will require schools to close if there are four or more cases in different classrooms within seven days that can be traced to exposure inside the school, said the schools chancellor, Meisha Ross Porter.

The new rules apply only within a school, not an entire building. (Some buildings house multiple schools.) And during an investigation to determine whether cases are related, schools will no longer need to close, as happens now.

Dr. Dave Chokshi, the city health commissioner, said: "The era of disruptive 24-hour closures is over."

If there are two or three positive cases in different classrooms over seven days, weekly random coronavirus testing will double to 40% of staff and students in the school, Porter said.

Classrooms must still quarantine if one person in the room tests positive, Porter said.

Under the "two-case rule," a school building must be closed for 10 days after the detection of two unlinked coronavirus cases among students, staff or other personnel in the building.

A statement sent by the teachers’ labor union, the United Federation of Teachers, said: "This change will mean that while many classrooms will continue to close, the number of overall schools closed will decline, a repeated request of both teachers and parents."

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