Decision on schools reopening in NYS to be given in August

NY Capitol News

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — As we inch closer to September, parents and students across the state of New York want to know if school will be back in session for in-person instruction. 

Governor Andrew Cuomo said the state will make a decision on school reopenings the first week of August. Local school districts will need to submit their plans by July 31.

“We will open the schools if it is safe to open the schools. Everybody wants the schools open,” the Governor said.

The Governor said the state is consulting with education and health experts and will issue guidance on Monday as to what should be included in school re-opening plans. 

Bob Lowry with the New York State Council of School Superintendents said he thinks the timing will still be tight for school districts given everything involved.

“It’s not like you show up on September 8 and put the lights on. Districts have to make plans about student schedules, bus runs, teacher assignments and so forth,” Lowry said. 

In a statement, NYSUT President Andy Pallotta said:

“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.”

Several state Republican Assemblymembers have signed onto a letter urging the Governor to allow in-person instruction for the 2020-2021 academic year. Wednesday morning, President Donald Trump tweeted he may cut funding if schools do not re-open.

The Governor said the decision is not up to the President. An aide to the Governor said the federal government only contributes about $3 billion towards school aid, and the state puts about $70 billion towards it on its own. 

“School re-openings are a state decision. Period. That is the law and that is the way we’re going to proceed,” said the Governor.  

There are 700 school districts across the state. The Governor hinted that there could be different approaches for school re-openings for different regions.

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