Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Dear Common Dreams Readers:
Corporations and billionaires have their own media. Shouldn't we? When you “follow the money” that funds our independent journalism, it all leads back to this: people like you. Our supporters are what allows us to produce journalism in the public interest that is beholden only to people, our planet, and the common good. Please support our Mid-Year Campaign so that we always have a newsroom for the people that is funded by the people. Thank you for your support. --Jon Queally, managing editor

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

New York City schools will only close as a last resort, city officials said Saturday.

New York City schools will only close as a last resort, city officials said Saturday. (Photo: carl_hfser/flickr)

Closing NYC Schools Amid Coronavirus Outbreak a 'Last Resort,' Says Official, Due to 114,000 Homeless Students With Nowhere to Go

"I don't think we're prepared for the ripple effects this could have for the most vulnerable in our society."

Eoin Higgins

In an example of how the coronavirus outbreak is exposing longstanding cracks in U.S. society, New York City schools chancellor Richard A. Carranza said that closing the city's public schools for a prolonged period of time would be a "last resort" because 750,000 low-income students in the city, 114,000 of whom are homeless, rely on schools for food, bathing, and even laundry. 

"Well this is a tragic embarrassment," tweeted Bard College professor Emma Briant.

As the New York Times reported:

Large-scale school closings might mean, for example, that subway conductors and bus drivers must stay home with their children, or that nurses at public hospitals would not be able to come to work, potentially slowing essential city services.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who declared a state of emergency over the disease on Saturday, told reporters Monday that the state would shut down any school across New York with a positive case for 24 hours as a precautionary measure. 

Any school closures in the country could have dire effects on poorer populations, as observers like Times reporter Dana Goldstein pointed out on Twitter.

"I think the main concern I heard from school leaders across the country was about the risk of an overreaction (longterm school closures) that would severely disrupt...pretty much everything, and disproportionately impact poor families," said Goldstein.

Writer and educator Clint Smith noted that nationwide school closures could lead to increased food insecurity for the country's children.

"A reminder that if public schools shut down, millions of children will lose their access to some of the only meals they receive each day," said Smith. "Food banks will become more important, and I've learned the best way to help is not to donate your spare canned goods, it's to donate money."

During Cuomo's press conference Monday, the governor also unveiled a new hand sanitizer being produced in state prisons.

Prisons house among the most in danger communities, as public defender and criminal justice advocate Scott Hechinger pointed out, and are not allowed to use the product they are producing. 

"As of today people in N.Y. jails and prisons are not allowed to use hand sanitizer," said Hechinger. "Alcohol content means it's contraband. Can't use it. Loved ones can't send it. But those same people incarcerated by N.Y. are getting paid 65 cents per hour to manufacture it!"

The effects of the coronavirus on the U.S., tweeted CBS News reporter Grace Segers, could be devastating.

"I don't think we're prepared for the ripple effects this could have for the most vulnerable in our society," said Segers.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

"I'm sure this will be all over the corporate media, right?"
That’s what one longtime Common Dreams reader said yesterday after the newsroom reported on new research showing how corporate price gouging surged to a nearly 70-year high in 2021. While major broadcasters, newspapers, and other outlets continue to carry water for their corporate advertisers when they report on issues like inflation, economic inequality, and the climate emergency, our independence empowers us to provide you stories and perspectives that powerful interests don’t want you to have. But this independence is only possible because of support from readers like you. You make the difference. If our support dries up, so will we. Our crucial Mid-Year Campaign is now underway and we are in emergency mode to make sure we raise the necessary funds so that every day we can bring you the stories that corporate, for-profit outlets ignore and neglect. Please, if you can, support Common Dreams today.

 

Scores Feared Dead and Wounded as Russian Missiles Hit Ukraine Shopping Center

"People just burned alive," said Ukraine's interior minister, while the head of the Poltava region stated that "it is too early to talk about the final number of the killed."

Brett Wilkins ·


Biodiversity Risks Could Persist for Decades After Global Temperature Peak

One study co-author said the findings "should act as a wake-up call that delaying emissions cuts will mean a temperature overshoot that comes at an astronomical cost to nature and humans that unproven negative emission technologies cannot simply reverse."

Jessica Corbett ·


Amnesty Report Demands Biden Take Action to End Death Penalty

"The world is waiting for the USA to do what almost 100 countries have achieved during this past half-century—total abolition of the death penalty," said the group.

Julia Conley ·


Pointing to 'Recently Obtained Evidence,' Jan. 6 Panel Calls Surprise Tuesday Hearing

The announcement came less than a week after the House panel delayed new hearings until next month, citing a "deluge" of fresh evidence.

Common Dreams staff ·


Looming US Supreme Court Climate Decision Could 'Doom' Hope for Livable Future

"The immediate issue is the limits of the EPA's ability to regulate greenhouse gases," said one scientist. "The broader issue is the ability of federal agencies to regulate anything at all."

Jessica Corbett ·

Common Dreams Logo