Are New York's Private Schools Open? Closures Rule Explained As COVID Cases Rise

Schools in New York City are to suspend in-person teaching from today—Thursday—and remain closed until further notice. However, the rules apply only to the public school system and some NYC private schools are opting to stay open.

Public schools are closing because the figure for positive tests in the city has hit 3 percent using a seven-day rolling average. School buildings must close and students must transition to full-time remote learning for a minimum of two weeks.

There are more than 1 million students in the New York City public school system—the largest in the U.S. However, the city's 200,000 private school students may not face the same restrictions.

Are private schools open in NYC?

The private schools that have said in-person teaching will continue on Thursday include Browning, Nightingale-Bamford, Collegiate, Spence and Trinity, according to Bloomberg.

Bloomberg also reported that parents of students at Allen-Stevenson, Chapin and Columbia Grammar & Preparatory have said those schools will remain open.

Horace Mann, a private school in the Bronx, is closing its buildings and moving to remote learning until January 19.

The City of New York website says the parents of children who attend a charter, private or parochial (religious) school should contact the institution directly for any questions related to coronavirus preparation and handling, reopening and closures, and remote learning.

The status of these private schools could change on a case-by-case and day-by-day basis.

Beginning tomorrow, November 19, @NYCSchools buildings will close for in-person learning due to a 3% COVID-19 positivity rate in New York City. @NYCMayor provided an update: pic.twitter.com/lIOg5O8bhf

— City of New York (@nycgov) November 19, 2020

Mayor Bill de Blasio wrote on Twitter on Wednesday: "We set a strict public health standard when we reopened schools to keep our entire @NYCSchools community safe from COVID-19. Buildings are closed, but school is still in session with remote learning. We'll return to in-person learning as soon as possible.

"We will likely see additional restrictions across the board in New York City. We have to do more to fight back a second wave of COVID-19. We will take the right steps to protect New Yorkers and limit activities that create danger."

The mayor added: "This city doesn't back down from a fight. We didn't at the beginning of this pandemic and we won't now. This moment is a real challenge, but it's one that we can and will overcome—together."

NYC School
A person walks past a public school in Brooklyn on November 18, 2020. Public schools in New York City, the largest school district in the nation, will close again on Thursday. Getty/Spencer Platt