All public and private schools in Nassau County will be closed for two weeks beginning Monday, March 16, as part of the county’s latest effort to help combat the spread of coronavirus.
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran made the announcement at a press conference Sunday morning, signing an executive order to close all county schools after the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Nassau topped 90.
“Nassau County will close all K-12 public and private schools for a two-week period starting Monday the 16th of March,” Curran said. “I want to be clear, I understand the gravity of this action and what it means to every community in our county.”
School buildings in the county will be closed for instruction, but teachers and administrators may still use the facilities to help conduct distance-based learning. School buildings will also serve to help distribute grab-and-go lunches for students who currently qualify for free or reduced-price school lunches. The Nassau County Office of Emergency Management is setting up a special unit to help give out food.
The county executive also said the county and state are developing plans to aid healthcare workers with children in Nassau schools, and working on developing “a proper waiver” for the requirement that children receive at least 180 days of school instruction in a school year.
Curran’s announcement that Nassau schools would close was soon followed by similar announcements from Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Currently, every public and private school in Westchester County, Nassau County, Suffolk County and New York City has closed to help contain the spread of coronavirus, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday.
In her announcement on Sunday, the county executive stressed the importance of residents and public officials taking every step possible to help “flatten the curve,” engaging in practices like social distancing and self-isolation where possible to limit the growth of new COVID-19 cases. Projections from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predict that between 160 and 214 million people in the United States could contract COVID-19 were nothing to be done to prevent its spread, between 200,000 and 1.7 million of those people could die.
Curran called for county residents to remain resilient in a thread she posted on Twitter, likening the current crisis to the region’s response to 9/11.
“It is moments of crisis like this that, like in the months after September 11th, we see what Americans–and especially New Yorkers–are made of,” Curran wrote. “We’re resilient. We step up in moments of crisis and put aside our differences to meet the moment. My message to everyone in Nassau County is this: We are in this together, and together we will get through this.”