New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday said that he is taking sole responsibility for closing the city's public schools without a reopening plan in place.
"Honestly, I have to hold myself responsible," de Blasio said during a press conference when asked why there wasn't a school reopening plan in place when 1.1 million public school students switched to all-remote learning last Thursday after the citywide CCP virus infection rate hit the three percent threshold.
In summer, the de Blasio administration established that the city's public schools would have to end in-person learning if the citywide CCP virus infection rate hit three percent on a rolling seven-day average. The city reached the threshold last Wednesday, causing all public schools to shut their doors the next day.
"The better situation would have been, clearly, to have that plan all worked through in advance," the Democratic mayor said, arguing that there is no reopening plan for schools because his administration has invested most of the energy into avoiding going past the three percent threshold in the first place.
"That's really where our energy was going, deploying the testing, trying to take actions that we thought might avert the original measure being hit," de Blasio explained.
"I think we didn't have a plan-B and we should've had a plan-B, but I also understand why we didn't because we were really dealing with so many day-to-day, hour-to-hour issues, and trying to find a way to avert getting to that three percent," he continued. "The important point is getting to the three percent meant something. It meant there was a problem. It meant that we were dealing with this second wave bearing down on us. That's a real thing."
De Blasio also promised that the details of a staged reopening plan will be announced next week.
Meanwhile, Councilman Mark Treyger, who heads the City Council's Education Committee, said that he has offered a re-opening plan in July, only to be ignored by the City Hall.
The latest data from New York City's health department shows that the city has a 3.05 percent infection rate on a seven-day rolling average, while the daily citywide positivity rate is at 2.74 percent.