Politics

New York state announces its schools are free to reopen in-person this fall

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According to the New York Times, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced that all school districts in New York are able to reopen this fall. ~

Cuomo, speaking at a news conference, said, “If anyone can open schools, we can open schools,” adding, “we have the best infection rate in the country” (New York Times). In accordance with this statement, New York, including New York City, has maintained a positivity rate below 1 percent – compared to the nationwide average of 5.7 percent according to Johns Hopkins. ~

But Gov. Cuomo’s announcement does not guarantee that school buildings will actually reopen in the coming weeks. It is now up to local districts to decide whether to reopen and how to do so. According to WKBW’s Ed Reilly, Gov. Cuomo claimed in a conference call, “They can do in-person school. It is up to districts to decide whether it is hybrid, remote, or outdoor learning. Schools can decide on [a] schedule.” The school district’s in-person reopening plans must also be approved by the state’s education and health departments in the coming weeks. Reilly also reported Cuomo claiming, “749 districts submitted plans to reopen, 127 districts have not submitted, an additional 50 are incomplete or deficient.” ~

Gov. Cuomo has gotten some backlash from the teachers in New York school districts. In response, Cuomo said, “What if teachers don’t feel comfortable coming back? Teachers have to feel safe. You are not going to order a teacher into a classroom. Teachers have to agree to go back. There needs to be significant discussions” (WKBW). Cuomo says it is a priority for districts to ensure they are taking the correct safety measures when reopening schools saying, “Teachers have to feel safe, they can’t teach if they don’t feel safe” (New York Times). ~

The New York State Education Department also made a claim about returning to school, “The closing of schools in March 2020 has profoundly affected the lives of New Yorkers. This impact will continue through the 2020-21 school year and beyond. While no one can predict all the challenges that may arise over the coming weeks and months, it is imperative that we plan for a safe and orderly return to school.” ~

ARTICLE: KYLE SMITH 

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