Staten Island Councilman Joe Borelli is joining a group of New York City parents and suing to have schools reopened, saying Mayor Bill De Blasio has “failed” citizens during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza have continued to fail our children time and time again,” Borelli said in a Saturday statement following a Friday evening filing in Manhattan federal court. “Even though they had six months to prepare for this school year, they failed to do so and our children are forced to pay the price.”
Mayor De Blasio recently shuttered all schools, citing the city hitting a positivity rate of three percent on a rolling seven day average as his reason.
Borelli, who is also involved in a class action lawsuit filed last month in Richmond County Supreme Court to reopen schools, said remote learning has “proven to be a failure” and is depriving children of a proper education.
James Mermigis, one of the three lawyers representing the plaintiffs, called the decision to close schools “just another example of the random and arbitrary decisions that are being made in Albany and City Hall.”
“Incompetence at the top is unacceptable,” he added.
The closing of New York City schools has come amid multiple pandemic restrictions placed on the city and the state as a whole, with Gov. Andrew Cuomo having recently announced a curfew for businesses for instance.
The closure came on Wednesday after hours of uncertainty, leaving many parents scrambling to make plans for childcare.
Borelli is just one of many local officials to slam the mayor’s decision, with critics citing restaurants remaining open as hypocritical.
Gov. Cuomo added to confusion during a Wednesday press conference when he got in a shouting match with a reporter asking if schools would be closed and he insisted there should be no “confusion” and they are remaining open under the law. Minutes later, he was informed De Blasio had announced the three percent threshold being reached and ordered that schools close.
De Blasio said on Thursday the city is working on a plan to reopen schools, which will include “increased testing” for students.
New York has reported more than 590,000 cases of Covid-19, as well as over 33,000 deaths. New York City is home to the brunt of those numbers, with more than 290,000 cases reported and over 24,000 deaths.
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