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Cuomo: School districts can reopen in the fall, must implement their plans and work with parents and teachers

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday that he would allow children statewide to return to classrooms for the start of the new school year, citing the state's success in battling the coronavirus pandemic.

News 12 Staff

Aug 7, 2020, 10:06 AM

Updated 1,412 days ago

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday that he would allow children statewide to return to classrooms for the start of the new school year, citing the state's success in battling the coronavirus pandemic.
The announcement by Gov. Cuomo clears the way for schools to offer at least some days of in-person classes, alongside remote learning.
Last week, districts had to submit their reopening plans for in-person, remote and hybrid learning models. The Department of Health is reviewing those plans and will be contacting districts that do not meet guidelines.
Cuomo acknowledged that some parents and teachers want to get back, while others are on edge about returning. In the coming weeks, he says he wants districts to post plans on remote learning and making sure there is equity when it comes to WiFi and devices.
Cuomo also wants plans about testing and what happens if someone has to be tested and what kind of contact tracing will be done.
Those plans concerned some educators because they say districts don't have the funding and resources to do it.
State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker warned this week that "an ill-prepared reopening could put students, staff and parents in peril."
Earlier this summer, Cuomo set a general metric to help measure when it was safe to bring students back, saying the state would allow a return in regions where fewer than 5% of people tested for COVID-19 came back positive.
Now that the decision has been made, there is an urgent call to keep students and teachers safe. A statement from education leaders reads in part:
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  • Gov. Cuomo says all New York school districts have authorization to reopen. Districts must implement their plans and work with parents, according to the governor.
  • The governor says schools should post remote learning plans, have a clear plan for COVID-19 testing for students and teachers, and have a plan for contact tracing that is easily accessible to parents. 
  • Gov. Cuomo says schools should also hold at least three listening sessions for parents before school begins in the fall. Big districts should hold five sessions. 
  • A separate discussion should be held for just teachers. 
  • Gov. Cuomo: If the school's plan is not approved by the state, the school can't open.
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