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COVID-19: Have Plans Ready For The 'New Normal,' Cuomo Tells NY School Districts

Schools have been instructed to be ready to educate students under the "new normal."
Schools have been instructed to be ready to educate students under the "new normal." Photo Credit: Contributed

It’s unclear what schools in New York will look like in the fall, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo is telling school districts to have learning plans in place and to be prepared for the “new normal” when classes resume.

With some eager to get answers about how and when schools could reopen, Cuomo’s Communications Director Dani Lever said that the state will be meeting with stakeholders before making a definitive decision on schools.

Cuomo has reiterated throughout the pandemic that the virus’ spread is not static, and that he “can’t know what things will look like two months from now.”

“Of course the state consults with local stakeholders and when it comes to opening schools in New York City we will consult with parents, teachers, health officials, and local elected officials,” Lever said. “But the governor has said any determination is premature at this point and we will need to see how the virus develops.”

Cuomo said this week that two months ago, New York, the country, and the world had an entirely different outlook as the battle against COVID-19 was raging at its peak, so it’s impossible to predict what will happen with schools.

“You look back two months and you see how many things have changed,” Cuomo said. “I want to see what the infection rate is and what the disease is doing before we pull the trigger and make the decision.

“Children have missed schools. Children have missed the interaction with other children and that's part of the socialization process,” he said. “We are preparing to open schools, we have plans to open schools, but look, I'll be honest with you. It's two months away. Anything can happen in two months.”

Lever said that Cuomo wants schools to be prepared for what things will look like in the fall under the “new normal” as the state recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The governor has also told all school districts to have plans ready for the 'new normal' in the event schools can open,” she said. “The governor hopes schools will reopen, but will not endanger the health of students or teachers, and will make the determination once we have more current information.

"We value the opinion of local politicians and the state's 700 local school districts as to what should be done, but the public should not be confused on this important decision that has practical consequences for many."

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