NEW YORK — Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday that all New York school districts are authorized to reopen for the next academic year.
Cuomo said that his decision was based on infection rates across the state. He previously announced a state formula to determine whether or not schools will reopen.
Listen to the governor’s teleconference making the announcement:
School districts have been developing reopening plans, with feedback from parents and teachers.
However, according to the governor, of the 749 districts across the state, 127 have yet to submit reopening plans and 50 plans were incomplete. The Department of Health will continue to go over plans as the come in, the governor said.
According to Cuomo, the Health Department can disapprove of a district’s plans if they don’t meet the proper safety measures, which could delay the opening of schools in that district.
Also, individual school districts will have the flexibility to delay their own reopening if they feel its the best choice. “There’s no one-size-fits-all method,” Cuomo said.
While some schools are proposing a mix of in-person and remote learning, the governor said all school districts should have a separate remote-learning plan.
This plan should be posted online for parents and teachers to see, Cuomo advised.
He also said he would like schools to plan virtual sessions with parents to go over the plans and listen to parents concerns and questions.
When it comes to masks, the governor said masks will be “strongly recommended” to be worn all day in schools and required when social distancing is not possible.
Schools will provide masks and all students and staff must have a mask handy at all times.
Asked about high-school sports, Cuomo said that no interscholastic sports have been approved at this time.
New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza also unveiled updated school reopening plans this week, which requires teachers and students to be in masks the whole day.
Class sizes have also been slashed to 12 or less students, while many areas like gyms and cafeterias are getting revamped to create makeshift classrooms.
Disinfection and virus protection are some of the top areas of concern.
Though the deadline to opt for full remote learning is Friday, parents can decide at any point to change their children’s learning method from hybrid blended learning to remote learning. Students who opted for full remote learning cannot opt for blended learning until a date is given by officials.
New York schools have been closed since mid-March in an attempt to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.