NYC parent slams citywide public school closures: 'We're going to lose an entire generation'

NYC parent on school closures: Shut bars, gyms and indoor dining first

Reshma Saujani tells ‘The Daily Briefing’ we are going to ‘lose a generation’ because we aren’t able to keep schools open amid the coronavirus pandemic.

New York City's decision to close public schools indefinitely due to an increase in coronavirus cases will disproportionately affect lower-income and other vulnerable children, parent Reshma Saujani told "The Daily Briefing" Thursday. 

"I'm not worried about my kid," Saujani, the founder and CEO of Girls Who Code and a former New York City deputy public advocate, told host Dana Perino. "My son's in kindergarten, I could help him … I'm working at home. We have support.

"I'm worried about vulnerable children, kids from my Girls Who Code community, half that are Black and Latinx and half that are living under the poverty line," Saujani added. "So many of them, they don't have high speed internet at home. They don't have a device. They're getting wi-fi in a Burger King parking lot. I'm worried about them and their opportunity and their future. And we know the remote learning, it's not working when you have so many children that don't have high speed internet, so many children who are just giving up and just aren't logging in because they're too busy babysitting or they're working as essential workers. It's not working. We need kids in school."

New York City officials announced Wednesday that public schools would be closed indefinitely beginning Thursday after the seven-day average of positive coronavirus tests in the city passed the 3% mark. Critics have noted there is no evidence that schools are a significant source of coronavirus transmission and the vast majority of children are not affected by the virus. 

Saujani slammed leaders and legislators for being unable to "get it together to figure out how to keep schools open or how to make remote learning equitable.

"We're going to lose an entire generation, and we're — I'm just talking about the kids," she told Perino. "We haven't even gotten to the mothers. A study just came out that we lost 1.6 million mothers in our labor market, because eight out of ten of them are at home, homeschooling. We've made so much progress in terms of getting to gender parity for women, but we are losing all of it day by day by day."

"The people that are making these decisions, they're men with no school-age children," Saujani added. "They're not mothers."

To that end, Saujani said, city officials should have "shut the bars, shut the gyms, shut indoor dining" before closing the schools.

"It's clear that transmission isn't happening at schools," she said. "You can shut the schools down, but it's [the case rate is] going to go up and up and up until you close the gyms, until you close indoor dining. So it doesn't make any sense. 

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