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parents ‘ultimate decision makers’ on reopening of schools

parents 'ultimate decision makers' on reopening of schools

Gov. Andrew Cuomo stressed Monday that New York parents need to feel “comfortable” with schools’ reopening plans as he deemed them the “ultimate decision makers” on the matter.

New York’s 700 districts had to submit their back-to-school plans to Cuomo’s office last Friday, and the governor said he will “make a determination later this week” on the reopening from their coronavirus-induced shutdowns based on the state’s COVID-19 infection rate.

But, Cuomo said during a Manhattan press briefing, “Just because a district puts out a plan doesn’t mean that if we reopen the school, parents are going to come or teachers are going to come … it’s not going to happen that way.”

“They are not going to trust the school district,” Cuomo said, adding, “Just because the school district says, ‘You shouldn’t worry about your child’s public health,’ that’s not enough.”

Cuomo explained that he’s been talking to parents who have many questions, including about coronavirus testing in schools.

“They have questions and they need answers and time is short,” he said. “The parents are going to make the decision.”

The governor said some of the school districts’ reopening plans submitted to the state are difficult to navigate.

“You look at some of these plans – they’re indecipherable,” said Cuomo as he urged school districts to start having discussions with parents.

Of parents, Cuomo said, they “have to be comfortable and they should be comfortable because they’re the ultimate decision-makers here.”

New York City’s de Blasio administration submitted a 32-page plan to state officials on Friday and on Sunday a senior Cuomo official said it looks more like “an outline” than a comprehensive blueprint.

When asked by a reporter about the city’s plan, Cuomo said he did not know the status of individual schools plans because the state Education Department is reviewing them.

“My point is, this is not going to be between the school district and the state or the school district and the state Education Department,” the governor said. “This is between the school district and the parents.”

He said he has not heard enough “about the parents’ concerns and the parents’ involvement.”

Cuomo added, “I’m not going to allow any school to open if we don’t have a safe environment. That’s not going to happen and I think New Yorkers know that.”

“If it’s clearly on its face not safe then it won’t be approved,” Cuomo said.

Governor Andrew Cuomo
Erik Pendzich/Shutterstock

Cuomo explained, “I trust the parents more than anyone and I don’t care if a school district says reopen. If they don’t have a good plan for reopening, no kids are going to come and no teachers are going to come.”

New York schools will not open if the coronavirus infection rate goes up or if a school district does not have an “acceptable” plan, according to Cuomo.

“I believe the unacceptable plan is going to be determined more by the parents and the teachers,” he said, noting, “If the school does not have a safe plan then we’re not going to allow it to open.”

Additional reporting by Bernadette Hogan

About the author

Evan Lewis

Evan Lewis

With a knack for storytelling, Evan started News Brig about a year ago. Covering substantial topics under the Sports,, he helps information seep in deeper with creative writing and content management skills.

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