CITY HALL, New York (March 13, 2020) — On Friday, Council Member Francisco Moya (D-Queens) issued the following statement urging the Mayor to close public schools and switch to the summer school model to prevent the spread of COVID-19:
“Kids absorb everything. They see the stores around them closing, sports events getting canceled, their families scrambling to make last-minute arrangements.
“Despite this, we expect them to set everything aside when they arrive at school as if it exists in a vacuum, separate from what’s beyond the classroom window. That’s not an environment for academic success and it’s not an environment that will keep them safe from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s time to close schools and move to the summer school model.
“I appreciate this is not an easy lift. With 1.1 million students, New York City is by far the largest school system in the country. No doubt, shutting down schools will create significant hardships for families across the city.
“Many parents depend on schools for much more than educating their kids. They’re not called babysitters, psychologists or nutritionists, but that’s exactly what school staff and teachers are asked to be every day.
“However, mitigating the COVID-19 pandemic demands an unprecedented response. I agree with Speaker Corey Johnson and Council Member Mark Treyger, who chairs the City Council Committee on Education, that to prevent the spread of this deadly virus and protect students and their families, the responsible decision is to close all but a handful of schools in each district.
“These select few schools should remain open for students who rely on services like school meals, medical care for students with certain disabilities and child care for families who depend on it.
“I’m calling on the City’s administration to provide a clear path forward that meets these needs and limits the hardship for families to the greatest extent possible.
“The COVID-19 virus is forcing us to alter our routines and cultural norms, but eventually, life will return to normal. Until then, the adults need to behave accordingly.”
About Francisco Moya
Council Member Francisco Moya represents the New York City Council’s 21st District, which encompasses Corona, East Elmhurst, LeFrak City and parts of Jackson Heights. He chairs the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises and sits on seven other committees: Civil Service and Labor; Cultural Affairs, Libraries, and International Intergroup Relations; Finance; Immigration; Land Use; Parks and Recreation; and Hospitals. Council Member Moya also serves as the vice co-chair of the Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus (BLAC). For more information, please visit council.nyc.gov/francisco-moya.