ALBANY, N.Y. – All 700 school districts in New York must submit plans for state approval by July 31, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo says a decision on reopening will be made the following week.
“On July 31, local school districts will submit their plans on how they would reopen, what their precautions will be, if they want to have a phased reopening, if they want to have a partial reopening…Aug. 1 to 7, the state will announce a decision on whether or not those schools reopen,” said Cuomo.
State officials will meet with school representatives to develop guidance, which will be finalized next week.
“Localities are very involved in their schools and school decisions. So, we have been meeting with them,” said Cuomo. “We'll have finalized guidance pursuant to those conversations on July 13.”
Cuomo also responded to President Donald Trump's threat to withhold federal money if schools don’t reopen in the fall, saying New York will continue to put safety first.
“School reopenings are a state decision, period. That is the law, and that is the way we're going to proceed. It's not up to the president of the United States,” said Cuomo. “We will open the schools if it is safe to open the schools.”
The president of New York State United Teachers, Andy Pallotta, also issued a statement Wednesday, in support of the state’s plan.
“The federal government’s demands that schools reopen without concern for health, safety and equity are simply out of touch. Thankfully here in New York, we know the governor, the Regents and fellow education stakeholders are taking this seriously,” said Pallotta.
In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio says students will return to their physical schools two or three days a week and learn online the rest of the time.
De Blasio said Wednesday that schools can’t accommodate all their students at any one time and maintain safe social distancing.
De Blasio said parents will have the option of online-only instruction for their children, but he said 75% of parents who answered a survey want their children in school in September.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said several times that the decision whether to open schools is his to make.
De Blasio said the city would work closely with state officials. The city’s public school system is the largest in the U.S.