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Confusion Reigns As Department Of Education Closes 61 Additional Schools In COVID-19 Hot Spot Zones

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Hours before new lockdown restrictions were set to go into effect, families are more confused than ever before.

The city just announced 61 additional schools will go fully remote for two weeks, on top of those already closed.

Starting Thursday, the Department of Education says a total of 169 school sites will be fully remote for at least the next two weeks. However, the boundaries for the COVID-19 hot spots are not so clear cut. Sunset Park in Brooklyn is split between two zones and it wasn't until earlier in the evening that students at one school found out they won't be allowed back to class.


Parents rallied outside a Forest Hills public school on Wednesday afternoon, urging Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to let their kids go back to the classrooms.

"We feel like the city is failing us once again," Ifat Golanorgad said.

It's one of 108 school sites closed since Tuesday in COVID-19 cluster areas, where the infection rate is above 3% or what Gov. Cuomo has dubbed "Orange" and "Red" zones.

"The disagreements between the mayor and governor are certainly not helping," a parent said.

"I needed more time to prepare for something like this," Golanorgad said.

And that was before the city closed another five dozen school sites Wednesday night, effective immediately.

Frustrated parents took to Twitter to speak to the DOE.

"Giving families notice at 8:15 p.m. that their students school will be closed tomorrow is disrespectful," one person wrote.

"My son just went to sleep and we have no idea whether our school is open or closed tomorrow," another wrote.

Mayor de Blasio may have foreshadowed this confusion earlier in the day when asked about the color-coded zones.

"We're working with the state to get very clear the exact boundaries," de Blasio said.

The city also rolled out a new find-your-zone map to help residents figure out which shutdowns will apply to them come morning.

In addition to schools starting Thursday, nonessential businesses, restaurants and houses of worship must have limited capacity in hot spot zones. One night after members of Brooklyn's Orthodox community burned their masks in protest of the restrictions, hundreds were once again out on the street Wednesday, vowing to defy shutdown orders.

City Hall said the NYPD will be enforcing the new restrictions. When asked if that includes houses of worship, the mayor's office said, "We have done it before. We will do it again."

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