1199 Pres. Gresham: Closing NYC’s Schools with No Care Plan for Children Would Place a Dire Strain on NYC’s Healthcare Infrastructure

March 13, 2020

For Immediate Release:

New York, NY - 1199SEIU President George Gresham today released the following statement regarding calls to close New York City's schools in response to COVID-19:

“As we continue to monitor the scope and effects of COVID-19, we understand the importance of protecting public health and safety. Healthcare workers are on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19, using their skill and expertise to protect the health of their families, their patients, and the general public.

“While calls to close New York City’s public schools are being received, we urge Mayor de Blasio to recognize the plight of the healthcare workers, transit workers, and other essential workers who are unable to take time off. These hardworking women and men rely on our public schools to not only educate their children, but to provide a safe environment for them while their parents work.

“Closing New York City’s public schools with no care plan for these children would place a dire strain on our social infrastructure by reducing the healthcare workforce, and possibly halting the gains being made to help curb the spread of COVID-19. This would undoubtedly pose an even greater danger to New York’s families.

"If school closure becomes our only option, it should be accompanied by a clear plan to ensure that the children of our essential healthcare workers are kept safe while their parents are at work delivering critical care to their patients."


With over 450,000 caregivers, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East is the largest and fastest-growing healthcare union in America. We represent workers in five states including Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Florida, and the District of Columbia.