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All New York school districts, including NYC public schools, have been authorized to reopen this fall, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday in a telephonic news conference.
Gov. Cuomo has made the decision based on the low infection rate throughout the state. He went to note that the infection rate in NYC as of Friday was just 1 percent.
He announced that schools are now authorized to reopen – although precautionary safety measures should still be practiced. Before schools open their doors for in-person learning, they must first submit their plans to keep their students, teachers, and staff safe. It will then be checked and approved by the New York State Health Department.
Out of the 749 school districts, 127 have yet to send their safety protocol, and that around 50 plans have been deemed insufficient, Gov. Cuomo added. As of today, the state’s Department of Health has not officially approved any submitted plans.
Acknowledging the concerns and questions of worried parents about the reopening of classes this fall, Gov.Cuomo reassured the value of keeping parents updated and involved in the safety planning of the reopening of schools.
Last Month, NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio announced the city’s proposed plan of blended in-person and remote learning and limited smaller class sizes.
Parents also have the option to forego in-person learning entirely. The Department of Education has given until Friday to notify them of their decision – although parents are still allowed to switch to remote learning “at any point,” according to Mayor De Blasio at a press conference Friday.
Gov. Cuomo encourages the testing procedures and plans for intensive contact tracing to be included on every school website. According to ABC New York reports, he urged schools to conduct question and answer sessions by the 21st of August. Moreover, he wants to hold at least one meeting where teachers can ask their respective school district’s questions.
Aside from following proper social distancing, students are also required to wear face masks all the time, which can be provided by their respected schools.
Gov. Cuomo also stressed that schools would be ordered to close if the infection level rises to 9%. If a region in the state ended up shutting down schools, the order would encompass both public and private schools.
President Trump is also a strong advocate of the reopening of schools and has even warned to withhold federal funding should schools not opt for reopening with in-person classes.