Private Schools Chart Own Path as De Blasio Shuts NYC System
(Bloomberg) -- Multiple New York private schools are staying open, at least for now, while Mayor Bill de Blasio closes all public schools as Covid-19 cases rise across the city.
Browning, Nightingale-Bamford, Collegiate, Spence and Trinity are among the independent schools in Manhattan that said they will hold in-person classes Thursday. Allen-Stevenson, Chapin and Columbia Grammar & Preparatory also will remain open heading into the Thanksgiving recess, according to parents of students at those schools.
The contrasting fates of school children shows how the wealthiest New Yorkers have been more insulated from the pandemic than most everyone else. Annual tuition at private schools can be more than $55,000. Many private schools opened for classes weeks before the public school buildings opened. The schools have had the resources to spend on mitigation such as renting additional space.
The New York City public school system is the largest in the country, with about 1 million children. There are more than 140 members of the Independent School Admission Association of Greater New York, which includes early childhood education programs.
David Lourie, the head of school at Collegiate, said in an email to parents earlier in the week that direction from the mayor or governor wouldn’t be the only factor he considers in weighing whether to close.
“We will also give considerable weight to our own experience in the building, such as the results of our weekly testing program and the many mitigation measures and health and safety protocols in the building, which continue to be substantial and are regularly evaluated and revised as needed by our own health staff,” Lourie said in the email.
At least one private school is shutting its doors.
Horace Mann in the Bronx decided to shift to remote learning until Jan. 19 after a student tested positive for Covid-19, the school said Wednesday in a letter to parents.
“Grab your instruments, books, athletic equipment, art supplies, anything you need,” the head of Horace Mann’s upper division told students in an email.
De Blasio agreed with parents and teachers months ago to set the 3% rate that forces a temporary halt to the largest U.S. school system’s blended program of classroom and remote instruction.
Schools generally have had low incidences of the virus, and government and public health officials have said they aren’t driving the spread like other congregant settings have been.
From Sept. 8 through this week, according to a state website that tracks the virus in schools, positive cases totaled five at P.S. 6; one each at Browning and Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music, Art & Performing Arts; four at Chapin; zero at both Collegiate and P.S. 87; nine at Columbia Grammar & Prep; and seven at Trinity.
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