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Cuomo: Schools need to convince parents of safety before reopening

Shinichi Sugiyama


Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday that he will announce later this week on what terms schools can reopen during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

But he put the responsibility for the details back on schools, saying they need to better respond to the concerns of parents. 

The state’s 700 school districts were to have submitted their reopening plans by July 31. Cuomo said some of those he’s seen are “indecipherable,” and others are incomplete. The governor said he will issue his decision on whether schools can partially or fully reopen later this week, based on data about the rate of the spread of infection in the state.

He said ultimately, though, the schools will need to win the trust of parents. 

“I don’t care what any bureaucrat says,” said Cuomo. “If they don’t have a good plan for reopening, no kids are going to come and no teachers are going to come.”  

The governor said schools should immediately hold virtual meetings with parents to make sure their concerns are addressed. 

Cuomo said he won’t OK a school reopening plan that isn’t safe.  

The governor was particularly critical of New York City’s reopening plan, which would offer a combination of remote and in-classroom learning, and shutter schools if the rate of transmission of the virus reaches over 3%.  

Cuomo has long feuded with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. 

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.