School Remains Open: Statement on NYC Public Schools Closure

 

The following statement was released to the school community on November 18, following the announcement that New York City Public Schools would close their buildings and move to fully remote learning.

 

Dear School Community,

By now, you may have heard that New York City Public Schools have temporarily closed their buildings effective tomorrow, Thursday, November 19, and public school students will shift to fully remote learning for an unknown period of time. This is in response to the city’s current COVID-19 positivity rate. As of now, Bay Ridge Prep will remain OPEN as long as it is safe to remain open and as long as we are permitted to remain open.

In addition to the mayor’s announcement about public schools, the governor also made announcements today warning of impending state-ordered closures of all schools in New York City but presented different positivity rate statistics. We understand that conflicting information from the mayor and the governor are both confusing and frustrating. We feel it is important to give you some background to the flurry of news we were all hit with today.

  • According to the mayor, New York City has reached the threshold of a 3% positivity rate using a 7-day rolling average that he and the public school teachers union agreed would trigger a citywide shutdown of public school buildings. 

  • Separately, the governor said that New York City’s positivity rate is at 2.5% using a 7-day rolling average.  

  • The governor announced that if the state’s tracking numbers show that New York City reaches a 3% positivity rate using a 7-day rolling average, he would declare New York City an “Orange Zone”, which would temporarily close all schools, both public and private.

  • As of the writing of this email, New York City is not an Orange Zone, as defined by New York State. 

  • If we are classified as an “Orange Zone” school, there will be ways to “test out” of it by meeting certain state safety and health protocols and increasing the amount of COVID-19 testing done.

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Here are criteria that would trigger a closure of Bay Ridge Prep’s buildings and a switch to fully remote learning.

  • New York State Governor declares the neighborhood of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn or New York City an “Orange Zone” or “Red Zone” and all schools are ordered to close.

  • There is a spread of infection in our school community and Bay Ridge Prep, in consultation with the local Department of Health, decides to close to investigate the spread.

We remain committed to safely offering in-person instruction and activities as long as our data and our experience tells us it is feasible to do so, and as long as it is permitted by New York State. At the same time, we urge everyone to have a plan in place should we be forced to close our building and make a quick switch to fully remote learning. While it is our hope that we do not reach that point, it is something that we must realize could become a reality once again. 

 

Please stay safe,

Charles Fasano & Michael Dealy
Heads of School