New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that New York City public schools will be closing this week to encourage stricter social distance policies to mitigate the spread the coronavirus in the state. 

Per Cuomo, the city has 24 hours to develop a plan that puts measures in place that address the needs children who rely on the public schools system for their meals. This plan includes the implementation “grab-and-go meals” where students will be able to go to school and get a meal, but will not be allowed to stay at the school. This will go on for five days over a “transitional” period. In addition to NYC public schools, Long Island and Westchester County will be affected by these closings.

According to Mayor Bill de Blasio, schools will remain closed at least until April 20th or through the rest the school year. Remote learning will be in effect beginning on March 23rd. 

The New York City public schools system is the largest in the United States with over 1,800 schools and 1.1 million students set to be affected by these new measures.

“To say the least, this is a very troubling moment, a moment where I am just distraught at having to take this action,” de Blasio said. “But I became convinced over the course today that there was no other choice.”