6:42 p.m., 3/15/20:
New York City schools will close until at least April 20 due to the coronavirus outbreak, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Sunday afternoon.
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New York City schools will be closed starting Monday morning.
The city will attempt to reopen schools after the spring break, on April 20.
Students will instead engage in remote learning starting on March 23.
The closing of schools followed immense pressure from parents, teachers, and unions.
De Blasio said, as of Sunday, five people in New York City have died due to the virus.
3:32 p.m., 3/15/20:
In a conference call Sunday around 3 p.m., Gov. Andrew Cuomo backed calls to close New York City schools amid the new coronavirus outbreak, as long as contingencies are in place for child care and prividing food for students.
Cuomo says he wants a plan that allows for some schools to remain open as child care centers for parents who are essential workers. Mayor Bill de Blasio has expressed concerns about the closure of schools, in part, because he fears health care workers — whom the city needs to tackle the crisis directly — will stay home to take care of their kids if schools are closed.
In the conference call, the governor said the city shouldn’t take more than 24 hours to develop a plan to close schools.
Stopping short of making an emergency order, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday called for bars, restaurants, and gyms to close down voluntarily in the race of the coronavirus crisis.
“If nobody does it, then we can take more action,’’ Cuomo told reporters at a Sunday briefing in the State Capitol.
The governor also responded to news that two State Assembly members are battling the virus, saying the state legislature must continue to meet despite the fact that more of them may have been exposed to the virus.
On Saturday night, NY1 learned that at least one member of the legislature tested positive for the virus.
When we inquired about that infection, a spokesperson initially refused to comment, then Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie tweeted that members Charles Barron and Helene Weinstein, both of Brooklyn, had tested positive.
Lawmakers were told by their leaders that they can expect to be in the Capitol until Saturday to wrap up an early state budget, which is due on April 1.
Cuomo said there are now 729 confirmed cases of coronavirus in New York state, and there have been three deaths, including a new fatality Sunday morning.
The governor also called on the Trump administration to deploy the Army Corps of Engineers to build additional hospital space. Cuomo said he believes current capacity — 53,000 beds and 3,000 Intensive Care Unit beds — will quickly be overwhelmed as more people get sick.
The governor is asking all businesses to keep workers home. And he ordered all state employees working in Rockland County and further south — including New York City — to also work from home.
Echoing Mayor Bill de Blasio, Cuomo also said he was reluctant to call for the closure of city schools because some health care workers would likely have to stay home and watch their children.