Today, Governor Cuomo Clarifies that Decisions on re-Opening schools will be Region by Region and Not State-wide
Update on August 7:
During his Tele-Press Conference this morning, Governor Cuomo gives the okay for all school districts in New York State to Reopen. Pending upon individual plan approvals by the NYS Health Department – without such approval a district cannot reopen schools.
More to come in a separate posting
NY Governor Andrew Cuomo today announced that any decisions on whether schools in the state would be reopening would be approached on a region by region basis much like the approach used in regional reopenings. The announcement follows on the heels of Mr. Cuomo’s announcement earlier this week, that he would be making a decision later in the week.
“Our decisions will be region by region. Analogize this to the economic reopenings,” said the Governor in response to a question asked of him.
Recently, we recently expressed our own confusion on the subject considering the restrictions placed upon NYC despite its stellar COVID-19 health metrics. Thus, we wonder what sort of decision the Governor will arrive at wherein the city is concerned.
The Governor also had the following to say during today’s tele-press briefing:
“On the issue of schools, I want everybody to remember the broader context. We will have at threshold decision in terms of the viral rate spread region by region across the state. We’re not going to open any school unless the viral transmission rate says we have the virus under control. If the viral transmission rate increases significantly then we will close the schools but there is more to this equation than just the viral transmission rate. The situation is very different across the state because regions are in different positions across the state and parents and teachers have different opinions across the state. Just as you see the situation in schools across the country has variation, the situation across the state there are variations.
It is not just a question of the State or the local school district pronouncing that the schools are going to be open. The parents are going to make the ultimate decision on a practical level, right? The State can say it’s okay for the schools in Buffalo to open. The Buffalo School District can say, “here’s our plan on how the schools re-open.” The parents in Buffalo are going to decide whether to send their child. And it’s the parents that are the final determination. The parents have to be actively included in this discussion. It’s not a discussion just between the state and the Buffalo School District. It’s a discussion among the Buffalo School District and the parents of Buffalo and the teachers of Buffalo— because if the teachers say “I’m not coming back” or the parents say “I’m not sending my child,” then whatever the school district says is irrelevant. And I field calls from teachers and parents all day long. I’m telling you, they have significant questions.
They’re watching what’s happening across the country. They’re watching what these other school districts are doing. They’re watching outbreaks when school is open. They have serious concerns. And they should. I’m not minimizing their concerns. If you look at the facts, you will have questions. We’re several weeks— within the next several weeks, the parents have to be included and the parents have to believe the plan makes sense. The teachers have to be included and the teachers have to believe the plans make sense.
So I once again say to our 700 school districts across the state, please be consulting and communicating with the parents and the teachers because they are the vital stakeholders. Not only are they vital stakeholders, they are the ultimate determination. So please, be consulting with them. Talk to them because if they’re not comfortable with the plan nothing is actually going to counteract their feelings. If a teacher doesn’t show up, you can’t open the class. If the parent doesn’t send their child, there is no child to educate. And that is inarguable.”