New Rochelle school district closes due to coronavirus after pressure from families, staff

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The entire New Rochelle School District will be closed starting Friday after pressure from families and staff.

The move happened just days after the district closed buildings within Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s containment area.

Some faculty in New Rochelle told News 12 that they thought the decision came way too late.

After mounting pressure from district families and staff - and the CDC recommending the entire district learn from home – New Rochelle’s School Superintendent Dr. Laura Feijoo gave in.

MORE: A list of area schools and universities closed amid COVID-19 outbreak

She announced Thursday evening, "I have determined that the closure of all our schools is the best course..."

"We should be listening to the CDC and the scientists who are making recommendations not a superintendent who has no background in that and is being told by government officials this is unsafe,” says Cheryl Smith, Albert Leonard teacher & FUSE negotiations chair.

Feijoo believed closing would leave 11,000 students without child care or meals she says students rely on.

Only three schools in New Rochelle initially closed because they fell in Gov. Andrew Cuomo's coronavirus containment zone.

The rest remained open until Thursday evening. The announcement came as a surprise to staff who had no prior warning.

"You didn't give them the opportunity to set up for tomorrow. What time is it now 4 p.m.? That’s outrageous. We find out in real time when parents do. It’s outrageous,” said Smith.

The district’s union tells News 12 teachers have not received any protocol or procedures for the virtual learning happening the next two weeks. It also says it had no hand sanitizer until Thursday.

A source told News 12 the governor’s office is in contact with the district medical director about known exposures to the virus within schools. That same source also told News 12 that the medical director advised district leaders to close a week ago.

GET INFORMATION: Coronavirus details from the CDC

COMPLETE COVERAGE: Coronavirus stories from News 12 

CORONAVIRUS PREVENTION: What you can do to protect yourself

GET THE FACTS: What you need to know about coronavirus

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