De Blasio Talks Coronavirus In Union Square: CUNY Schools Remain Open

Mayor-Ayse Kelce

Mayor Bill de Blasio was in Union Square on March 9, handing out flyers about the coronavirus and informing the public about the virus.

After elbow tapping with people instead of handshaking, De Blasio made announcements about how they are planning to deal with the virus.

After the first coronavirus case was confirmed on March 1 in Manhattan, New York State’s total number rose to 173 within 10 days. 36 of the positive tested individuals are in New York City, and every borough has reported at least one case so far. 

Due to the escalating number of cases, Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency on March 7. 

De Blasio announced that they did not want to close the schools, yet, many private colleges like Columbia, Fordham and St. John’s Universities had already canceled classes to prevent the spread of coronavirus.  

#CUNY and #CloseTheSchools were trending Twitter hashtags on March 9, with CUNY students demanding action to close down schools. Also, over 12,000 CUNY students signed a petition to cancel in-person classes.

Students raised their concerns on Twitter:

CUNY has released statements hinting to a possible switch to online classes, but there has not been an official approval. Some professors took the initiative to offer remote midterms, having online classes and not counting absentees for in-person classes.

CUNY’s University Student Senate also issued a statement calling Cuomo to take more action to protect and invest in the well-being of the students in CUNY.

De Blasio also advised to stay away from public transportation during his speech, and told people to walk or bike to school whereas most CUNY students commute for hours to get to their campuses.

Some students also raised concerns about how more students in CUNY do not have access to healthcare. 

“NYC will provide care regardless of immigration status or ability to pay,” the flyers given out by De Blasio and his team stated.