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Governor says state will make decision in early August about schools reopening

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 8 July 2020 at 12:34 pm

The state will make an announcement the first week of August about if and how schools will reopen in the fall.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said it won’t be a blanket policy for all 700 districts in the state because different regions of the state have different levels of infection from Covid-19.

New York will finalize guidance to reopen schools by July 13. School districts need to submit reopening plans by July 31, with the state to make a decision on reopening during week of Aug. 1-7.

Cuomo said student safety, as well as the health of teachers and staff, remains the priority on how schools will operate in the fall.

The governor pushed back on President Trump’s declaration that all schools need to reopen. If they don’t, Trump said he could withhold federal aid to those districts.

Cuomo said the president is pushing for schools to reopen while discounting advice and guidelines from the federal CDC.

“I disagree with @CDCgov on their very tough & expensive guidelines for opening schools,” Trump tweeted this morning. “While they want them open, they are asking schools to do very impractical things. I will be meeting with them!!!”

Cuomo urged the president to listen to the health experts. The president isn’t respecting how states have the role of deciding when and how to reopen schools.

The threat of withholding federal aid would hit the poorest school districts the hardest. The federal government sends about $3.5 billion in federal aid to schools in New York, out of about $70 billion in total education funding in the state.

The governor said the state has been successful in reducing the rates of Covid-19 infections, but he said that could change if people don’t adhere to social distancing and wearing masks. He also worries about many people coming to the state, about 12,000 daily, from 19 states with high rates of infection. The state is requiring people from those states to self quarantine for two weeks when they come to New York.

Those people, plus the increased activity as the state’s economy reopens, could lead to more infections, Cuomo said.

The governor said the state will be very careful with the reopening of schools.

“You’re talking about the safety of children,” Cuomo said. “God forbid you make that mistake.”

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