Mayor de Blasio admitted that the city doesn’t have an immediate backup plan if he closes the city’s public schools amidst the coronavirus outbreak.
“A variety of contingencies are being set up. They are far from perfect,” de Blasio said on CNN Sunday morning after a growing number of teachers, local elected officials and parents called for the closure.
“The difference between a functioning school system for over 1 million kids versus creating alternative centers for feeding or for the kids of health care workers, that kind of thing, if we got to that point we would improvise anything and everything,” de Blasio said.
“But it will not be by any means as good by definition as what we do every day when we have a functioning school system. But those contingencies are being built as we speak,” he said.
The plans are not complete even though de Blasio began to hold tabletop exercises with emergency management officials in January.
As of Sunday morning, the mayor wasn’t ready to make the call to shut down the school system.
“My blunt fear is if the schools shut down they will be done for the year, done for the school year maybe even for the calendar year. So I’m very reticent to shut down schools,” de Blasio said.
Among his reasons for keeping schools open are the fact that poor kids who get their meals at schools, health care providers and first responders need a place to send their children, and unsupervised teens create health and safety concerns.
“If we can keep our schools going we will. If at any point we feel it doesn’t make sense we’ll make a move,” he said.
A source told The Post top city officials met to discuss the issue Saturday night and may reach a decision Sunday to close the schools.
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