P.S. 79 will be closed starting Monday after 19 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer said all of the positive cases were staff and linked to pre-school orientation. 

The school will now switch to a remote learning format and is expected to reopen on September 28.

Brewer said, during the closure, grab-and-go meals can be picked up from the school daily or parents can indicate a closer school that they want to pick up meals from.

United Federation of Teachers (UFT) President Michael Mulgrew sent a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio Sunday urging him to increase COVID testing in city schools.

What You Need To Know

  • UFT President Michael Mulgrew is urging the city to increase COVID testing in city schools

  • The first week of school just got underway earlier this week, and one East Harlem school is already fully remote due to a COVID outbreak

  • Mulgrew said biweekly testing is insufficient, especially with the delta variant

In the letter, Mulgrew wrote, in part, “While so far our public schools have successfully reopened, I am concerned that this year’s reduced frequency of COVID testing means that thousands of children will spend days in classrooms without the early warning system that last year made our schools among the safest places in the community." 

Mulgrew emphasized that the UFT made it clear over the summer that biweekly testing was insufficient, given the delta variant and the strong possibility that many schools would struggle to meet the three-foot social distancing guidelines.

"We do have the ability if there is a political will to actually get us back to weekly testing, knowing now that we have a strain now that does a great deal of harm to children," Mulgrew said during a Sunday interview with NY1.  

Mulgrew also said he's seen photos of students packed into crowded hallways and cafeterias during the first week of school.

"We do want children in school because it is better for them to be in school, so now it comes to, what do we do to make sure that we can keep them safe? And I don't think we are doing everything we can," he added during an interview with Shannan Ferry.