<p><img src="https://static2.businessinsider.com/image/5fb577c732f2170011f6fd82-1963/Screen%20Shot%202020-09-01%20at%2011.12.57%20AM.png" border="0" alt="NYC schools" data-mce-source="Michael Loccisano/Getty Images" data-mce-caption="New York City schools will open to students for in-person classes on September 21, a week later than originally anticipated."></p><p></p><bi-shortcode id="summary-shortcode" data-type="summary-shortcode" class="mceNonEditable" contenteditable="false">Summary List Placement</bi-shortcode><p>All students in New York City public schools will transition to remote, online learning beginning Thursday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday.</p><p>The COVID-19 test positivity rate in the city hit 3% over the past week, reaching <a href="https://www.schools.nyc.gov/school-year-20-21/return-to-school-2020/health-and-safety">the threshold that officials set</a> to determine whether schools should close, he said. "We must fight back the second wave of COVID-19," de Blasio said.</p><p>Richard Carranza, the chancellor of the New York City Department of Education, <a href="https://twitter.com/DOEChancellor/status/1329144637655830533">said in a tweet</a> that it was a "temporary closure."</p><p>"The Mayor & I have been clear-eyed since the beginning that we needed to get students back into classrooms as soon as it was safe," Carranza wrote. "And we carry that same urgency with us today as we announce this temporary closure: we will get students back in buildings as soon as we can, safely."</p><p>He said in another tweet that "free meals for all students will still be available."</p><p><a href="https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/coronavirus/cuomo-warns-numbers-will-keep-climbing-as-nyc-parents-await-latest-on-schools-fate/2731256/">NBC New York reported</a> that the announcement came hours after de Blasio failed to appear at his daily press conference. It also followed a tense press conference from Gov. Andrew Cuomo.</p><div><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en" data-cards="" data-conversation=""><p lang="en" dir="ltr">IMPORTANT UPDATE: starting tomorrow, all <a href="https://twitter.com/NYCSchools'ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NYCschools</a> buildings are CLOSED for in-person learning until further notice. All students who were learning in school buildings part of the week will transition to remote learning every day. Visit <a href="https://t.co/a6osApfhy7">https://t.co/a6osApfhy7</a> for more. <a href="https://t.co/LhuVmiGTYi">pic.twitter.com/LhuVmiGTYi</a></p> NYC Public Schools (@NYCSchools) <a href="https://twitter.com/mims/statuses/1329142382055616512'ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 18, 2020</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></div><p>New York City's public-school system is the largest in the nation, serving more than 1.1 million students, <a href="https://www.schools.nyc.gov/about-us/reports/doe-data-at-a-glance">according to the New York City Department of Education</a>.</p><p>All the city's public schools had reopened to students by the end of October, though only about 26% of students had returned for in-person instruction, <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/26/nyregion/nyc-schools-attendance.html">The New York Times reported on October 26</a>.</p><p>The change is not unfamiliar for parents, students, and teachers in the school system. City officials closed school buildings and <a href="https://chalkbeat.org/posts/ny/2020/03/23/the-new-reality-of-coronavirus-heres-what-nycs-first-day-of-remote-learning-looked-like/">transitioned students to remote learning in March</a> when the virus hit New York and it became the US epicenter of the pandemic.</p><p>There have been more than 568,000 COVID-19 cases and more than 34,000 deaths reported in the state of New York, <a href="https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/region/us/new-york">according to data from Johns Hopkins University</a>. Over the past week, 2.88% of tests administered there have been positive. While that's lower than the <a href="https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/testing/individual-states">10% positivity rate across the US</a>, the rate in the state <a href="https://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/news/2020/10/11/new-york-s-positivity-rate-drops-below-one-percent">had dipped below 1%</a> last month.</p><p><a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/new-york-city-public-schools-closed-2020-11#comments">Join the conversation about this story »</a></p> <p>NOW WATCH: <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/london-streets-left-deserted-during-covid-19-lockdown-2020-3">Inside London during COVID-19 lockdown</a></p> Click here to read full news..