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Districts must plan reopening this month, but Cuomo won’t issue final decision on fall until August

On Wednesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that New York State would make a decision on whether schools will reopen in the fall during the first week of August.

New York State is now consulting with stakeholders on guidance, which will be finalized on July 13th.
Plans to reopen schools are due on July 31st.

DiSanto Propane (Billboard)

The governor also announced that all county fairs will be canceled until further notice out of an abundance of caution.

Governor Cuomo previously announced that the New York State Fair will be canceled this summer.

“We have been consulting all stakeholders on guidance for how a school would reopen in September. We have 700 school districts in this state, and they range from rural to urban to suburban areas. Localities are very involved in their schools and school decisions, so we have been meeting with them,” Governor Cuomo said. “During the first week of August, the state will announce a decision on whether or not those schools reopen, and we want to make that decision with the best available data because facts change here day to day and week to week. A week can be a lifetime with this virus because everything changes so quickly. The schools say they need a decision made by the end of the first week in August so they can then turn on the switches and get everything ready for September, and we’ll look at the data in that first week and then we’ll make a decision.”

New York State United Teachers President Andy Pallotta released the following statement today regarding the reopening of New York’s schools:

“Health and safety of students, families, educators and other school staff, and equitable access to a high-quality education must be the top priorities in reopening schools. The federal government’s demands that schools reopen without concern for health, safety and equity are simply out of touch. Thankfully here in New York, we know the governor, the Regents and fellow education stakeholders are taking this seriously. Our work with them continues, and while the intricate details of reopening may be complex and differ from school district to school district, there are simple points we believe must be addressed:

  • School districts must have personal protective equipment available for every student and staff member to use as appropriate.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting protocols must be in place, pursuant to the recommendations of relevant health experts.
  • Six feet of social distancing must be required inside school buildings.
  • Accommodations must be available for students and staff who are at higher risk for contracting this illness to ensure they can limit their exposure.
  • School districts must ensure they have adequate mental health services to address the psychological impacts of this pandemic on students.
  • There must be equitable access to a well-rounded education for every student, regardless of what reopening looks like. That means core academic subjects, arts, music, social services and other school services, and the technology to access those things remotely as necessary must be available no matter a student’s ZIP code.

“We need two things to make all of this a reality. First, parents and school staff must have a seat at the table locally to work out the details that are best for their communities. Second, we need the federal and state funding that absolutely will be necessary to do this safely and equitably. This isn’t a matter of whether we can do this right. We must.”

Watch the Governor’s announcement below: