New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that his administration will determine in the first week of August whether schools across the state can r
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that his administration will determine in the first week of August whether schools across the state can reopen this fall.
Cuomo, during a press briefing Wednesday, urged local school districts to submit their plans on “how they would reopen, what their precautions will be, and if they want to have a phased reopening.”
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“If they won’t have a partial reopening, those plans would come in on July 31,” Cuomo explained. “The state will announce a decision on whether or not those schools reopen.”
“They can submit a plan, the plan will be reviewed, and then we’ll accept or deny the specific plan or ask for alterations on the specific plan and then make a global decision as to whether or not any school district will reopen,” Cuomo continued. “And that will be the first week of August.”
Cuomo added: “Nobody wants the schools to open more than I do. School reopening also ties to the economic reopening.”
Cuomo noted, though, that the decision, which will be made next month, will be based on the latest data.
“But just to be clear,” Cuomo said. “The federal government has no legal authority when it comes to school openings.”
Cuomo went on to swipe at President Trump, who said this week that he would put “pressure” on governors to ensure schools reopened in states across the nation this fall amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“It is not his legal authority, just like it was not in his legal authority to say he’s going to decide when the economy reopens in this state,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo’s comments come amid a week of discussion on how to safely reopen schools for students across the country in September.
Earlier Wednesday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio rolled out his proposed plan for the 1.1 million New York City public school students come September.
De Blasio said that students will instead learn on a “blended” schedule and be limited to a maximum of three days in the classroom, while engaging in remote learning for the remainder of the week.
The mayor rolled out a “blended learning” plan for New York City Public Schools this fall, noting that at some points in the week, students will physically be in the classroom, and at some points, they will be learning remotely.
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“For the vast majority of kids and schools, you’ll be going to the classroom either two days a week or three days a week, depending on the week,” de Blasio explained. “A typical week will be two or three days in the classroom, in school, the other days will be remote learning.”
De Blasio added that “parents can choose remote learning exclusively,” and that there would be points in the year where those families would be eligible to reevaluate and choose to resume in-person learning.
“This blended, split-schedule model is what we can do under current conditions,” de Blasio said, while touting New York City public school teachers for their ability to “adapt intensely.”
“Blended,” according to city officials, means that students will attend school for part of the week and learn remotely for other parts of the week. Students are expected to return for a “blended” learning school year in September, but the de Blasio administration noted that families can choose a “fully remote learning model” if they do not feel comfortable sending their children to the classroom.
The de Blasio administration also said that they would send “schedules” to families in August so that parents “will know which days the students are expected in person.”
De Blasio was asked how the city planned to offer aid to working parents.
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“We’ve got a lot to do here,” he said. “I feel for parents who are juggling so much. Child care centers will be open, but we’re going to have to figure out more in terms of child care.”
He added: “This is something we’re going to have to be building as we go along. Some can make it work..some are going to need extra help. We’re going to be working in the coming weeks on how to figure out how to help them.”
Classrooms will only hold between 9 and 12 students for in-person learning, city officials said Wednesday, while noting that the schools will be working on additional models to determine if some students need more in-person learning than others.
“We’re going to move heaven and earth to be ready for September,” de Blasio said.
Cuomo, though, ultimately will determine whether de Blasio’s plans for New York City schools will be sufficient for a safe reopening for the 2020-2021 school year.