School districts in New York have been instructed to forego traditional spring recess and continue distance learning as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to plague the state.
With schools statewide shut down through at least Wednesday, April 15 due to the virus, Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order requiring that remote teaching continues to that date.
The governor said that districts that fail to provide instruction on all weekdays through April 15, including scheduled vacation days, could potentially lose state aid. It is unclear what school districts will do regarding religious holidays.
Though Cuomo has temporarily waived the mandate that schools provide a minimum of 180 days of learning each school year, he has also ordered districts to exhaust any available time" for instruction, including vacation days.
Earlier this week, the New York State Education Department issued a note to school superintendents stating "school districts must continue plans for alternative instructional options, distribution and availability of meals, and childcare, with an emphasis on serving children of essential workers, and continue to first use any vacation or snow days remaining."
“Public education is very important to all of us,” Cuomo said. “The other side of the balance beam is public health. We decided to close schools because I believed it was a safer choice to help reduce the spread. That's why we did it.”
“When you make a decision you have to weigh the benefit versus the burden. We don’t do this joyfully, but if you look at where we are, and the number of cases still increasing, it only makes sense.”
Cuomo said that on Wednesday, April 15, he and his aides will reassess the situation.
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