This news comes from The Guardian:
England will enter its toughest nationwide lockdown since March, with schools closed and people allowed to leave home once a day for exercise for at least six weeks, Boris Johnson has announced as the numbers of people in hospital reach new highs.
All pupils will switch to remote learning until the February half-term, the prime minister said in an address to the nation, and GCSE and A-level exams are unlikely to go ahead as planned. All non-essential shops will be told to close.
From a different Guardian piece, Johnson kind of explains why he changed his mind on closing schools:
Even in the past 36 hours, the prime minister had insisted schools were safe to open in most areas of the country. “There is no doubt in my mind that schools are safe,” he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr on Sunday.
However, the prime minister was unable to identify what he believed had changed since the preceding days, when most schools had been told to remain open – only saying in his address that schools were likely to act “as vectors for transmission, causing the virus to spread between households”.
No shit, Boris.
We know the new UK COVID-19 variant is in NY and COVID numbers continue to grow but NY school buildings remain open even as the vaccine rollout is not exactly going smoothly.
Israel is the most successful country in the world at vaccinating its people so far but they know they have to stay ahead of the spreading virus. From the Times of Israel:
Government ministers voted Tuesday night in favor of tightening the current nationwide lockdown by shuttering schools and nonessential businesses for two full weeks, with the aim of cutting rising daily infections that have passed 8,000 a day.
The increased measures will come into force at midnight between Thursday and Friday and last for at least 14 days, according to the Prime Minister’s Office and the Health Ministry.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it “one final effort” to keep COVID-19 at bay, as contagion spreads alarmingly even as Israel continues its vaccination campaign. Leading the world in per capita vaccinations, Israel had inoculated some 1.5 million of its 9.3 million populace by late Tuesday, including some 55% of its 60-plus age group.
In NYC, the city is reporting a 9.03% positivity rate (the state has it at 6.4%). The UFT is now hiding behind the state numbers as they erase that 9% line in the sand to close schools. According to UFT President Michael Mulgrew via NYC Educator, 45% of schools opened since December 7 have been closed at some point since then. So is the UFT demanding that every building be closed until it's safe? No, they have more important things to do such as negotiating a teacher evaluation agreement (sarcasm alert there).
Reality Based Educator describes today's situation succinctly on Twitter:
All it will take to close schools here in NYC is for a number of school communities to go remote on their own. Dare de Blasio and Cuomo to invoke the Taylor law strike penalties when you are willing to work remotely. Your health is more important as is the health of the students during the pandemic.