Cuomo: Schools can reopen in the fall

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says with the low coronavirus infection rate remaining steady across the state, schools are cleared to reopen in the fall.

Posted: Aug 7, 2020 12:19 PM
Updated: Aug 7, 2020 8:34 PM

ALBANY, N.Y. – Gov. Andrew Cuomo says with the low coronavirus infection rate remaining steady across the state, schools are cleared to reopen in the fall.

The announcement clears the way for schools to offer either in-person, remote learning or a combination of both.

“I have been deluged with calls from parents and teachers. And, there is a significant level of anxiety and concern. So, I said a number of times these school districts have to be talking to the parents and talking to the teachers. Because if the teachers don’t come back, then you can’t really open schools. If the parents don’t send their students, then you’re not really opening schools,” said Cuomo.

Cuomo says he’s heard parents and teachers express the most concerns about distance learning and testing, so districts are asked to post separate plans on remote learning procedures, as well as testing and contact tracing protocols.

"I want the school districts to post their 'testing plan' for their school district. So whenever they talk about testing, how will you do? That's what the parents want to know. How quickly will it be done, etc.?" said Cuomo.

Cuomo also advised districts to set up at least three discussions or forums for parents and teachers by Aug. 21. He said at least one meeting should be held with teachers only, to hear their questions and concerns.

While schools can reopen for now, Cuomo did say if there is a spike in cases, the topic of schools will be revisited.

Cuomo said out of 749 districts, 127 are yet to submit their plans, and 50 are incomplete or deficient.

The New York State United Teachers union President Andy Pallotta released the following statement after the announcement:

“We have been clear all along: Health and safety is the most important consideration in reopening school buildings. Viral infection rates tell only one part of the story. Many educators and parents have anxiety about local school district reopening plans that have been submitted to the state — if they even have been yet, with 127 districts that didn’t bother to submit them by last week and 50 considered incomplete by the state.

"Among the concerns that remain is the lack of guidance on specific procedures for closure, testing and contact tracing in the event of a COVID-19 case in a school. Right now, there may be some areas where parents and educators are confident in their district’s plan, but in many others, we know they aren’t.

"No district should consider themselves ready to reopen buildings until their plans are safe and everything in that plan meant to keep the school community safe is implemented. Being safe means parents and teachers must be confident in the reopening plan, and it is welcome news that districts must meet with parents and teachers this month. We’re thankful the governor agrees that forcing people back into the classroom when they feel their health is threatened is not what should happen. So if districts need to phase in the reopening of buildings, so be it. We must err on the side of caution. Period.”

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 452847

Reported Deaths: 33095
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Queens719787246
Kings677177321
Bronx527564944
Nassau464342201
Suffolk462412011
Westchester379481454
New York332373174
Richmond158231085
Rockland14998675
Orange11890498
Erie11201689
Monroe5970289
Dutchess5105153
Onondaga4300205
Albany3053134
Oneida2388123
Ulster225495
Niagara1756101
Putnam158963
Sullivan158048
Broome149669
Schenectady139548
Saratoga101717
Rensselaer90342
Columbia58637
Chautauqua5549
Madison49217
Oswego4703
Ontario46735
Tompkins4060
Chemung3873
Steuben37642
Warren36933
Otsego3355
Fulton33324
Herkimer32910
Orleans32754
St. Lawrence3224
Greene32118
Genesee3175
Wayne3145
Washington29414
Cattaraugus2586
Chenango2487
Montgomery2324
Tioga22925
Cayuga2052
Livingston2058
Cortland1670
Jefferson1650
Essex1640
Clinton1575
Wyoming1345
Delaware1334
Seneca1053
Allegany1011
Schoharie830
Franklin660
Yates627
Lewis500
Schuyler400
Hamilton150
Unassigned015
Utica
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