New York State now has a timeline for announcing a decision on how to best potentially reopen schools in September amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
During a news briefing on Wednesday, July 8 in Manhattan, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that the state has set a deadline for making a final decision on whether how or if schools will open their doors in the fall.
The state will provide public guidelines from the New York State Education Department to districts on Monday, July 13, and school districts will have to submit their proposed plans by Friday, July 31.
Once districts send their plans, the state will evaluate them and then announce sometime between Saturday, Aug. 1, and Friday, Aug. 7 how schools will reopen for the fall semester in each region.
“We want to make sure that decision will be made with the best available data,” Cuomo said. “The facts change week-to-week, which is why we set the drop-dead date (to make a decision.)
“We will open the schools if it is safe to open the schools,” he added. “That’s the law and that’s how we’re going to proceed. I am not going to ask anyone to put their child in a situation that I would not put my child in. That’s how I make all these decisions.”
Cuomo said that it is unclear whether decisions on schools will be done regionally or if there will be a global decision for the entire state.
“It’s a cohesive approach to this," he said. "We have a committee that’s been in place talking about this for weeks,.
“You only have a couple of models. But the complicating factor is that you do have a variance in the infection rate across the state, and hows that going to affect different schools?
“I’m not going to put someone in a dangerous situation, there’s not enough money on the planet that can pay for a life. It’s a balance, and it’s the same with schools.”
Cuomo reiterated that reopening schools is a state, not federal decision, despite bold proclamations and comments from President Donald Trump this week.
“The federal government has no legal authority when it comes to schools reopening,” Cuomo said. “This is just a redux on what the president did about economic reopening.
“That’s the law and that’s how we’re going to proceed, it’s not up to the President of the United States,” he said. “There’s something called a Constitution that guides government power, and guides the laws.”
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