New York City is closing the nation's largest public school system, sending over 1.1 million children home in hopes of curbing the spread of coronavirus, the AP reports. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday that schools will close early this week. The decision follows a growing number of school closures in communities and entire states around the country and mounting pressure in New York from residents, City Council members, and others. The shutdown affects the city's nearly 1,900 public schools. Many private schools already have closed. Schools in Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk counties will also close for two weeks beginning Monday.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio had been reluctant to close the school system because of the consequences for students and families. Just Saturday, the Democratic mayor said keeping schools running was critical. He worried that health care workers, first responders, and other needed workers would have to stay home to care for children, and that hundreds of thousands of poor students could go hungry without their free or reduced-price school meals. Multiple states had already announced they were closing schools. So have cities including Los Angeles, Houston, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, DC.
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