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.

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.


As of noon on Sunday, the de Blasio administration was holding firm: Schools will stay open as COVID-19 continues to spread.

“It is clearly widespread already in New York City and it will continue to grow,” the mayor said on CNN on Sunday morning.

There were 329 cases in the five boroughs Sunday afternoon. De Blasio expects that to reach more than a thousand next week.

Still, when we touched base with City Hall on Sunday, a spokesperson said the city would not shut down and schools would remain open — at least for now.

The administration is under tremendous pressure to shut down schools and even lockdown the city. Both the city Comptroller Scott Stringer and the Speaker of the City Council Corey Johnson were calling for citywide shutdowns — essentially shuttering non-essential services like bars and restaurants.

Acting Queens Borough President Sharon Lee is urging Queens parents to keep their children at home this week.

"I strongly urge all Queens families, in no uncertain terms, to keep all children home away from school this week,” Lee said Sunday.

The mayor, however, still maintains schools should stay open as long as possible. Trending on social media is a call for teachers to hold a "sickout" in protest of mayor's reluctance to suspend classes.

The president of the United Federation of Teachers Michael Mulgrew sent an email to the parents of public school students, urging them to call 311 and push for the mayor to close the school system.

Mulgrew says the city should set up sites to provide food for students and childcare for the children of healthcare workers and first responders if the system is shut down.

"The mayor is recklessly putting the health of our students, their families, and school staff in jeopardy by refusing to close public schools," Mulgrew said in the letter.

Teachers, for their part, are beginning to take matters into their own hands. NY1's Amanda Farinacci reports that teachers are sending text like this one, telling parents what to expect if they do send kids to school tomorrow.

De Blasio repeated his concerns about keeping kids home Sunday morning.

"I'm very reticent to shut down schools for a variety of reasons. Not just that that's where a lot of kids get their only good meals, where they get adult supervision, especially teenagers who otherwise would be out on the streets,” de Blasio said. “There's health and safety ramifications to that. Those first responders, those healthcare workers who depend on the schools so they can get to work and we need those workers desperately, a lot of factors here ... It is literally a day-by-day reality."

De Blasio did say that contingency plans are being set up in case schools do close.