Cuomo Said He’ll Decide If Schools Reopen. Now He Says It’s Up to Parents, Teachers
Days after New York City and other school districts had to submit their plans for reopening, Gov. Andrew Cuomo promptly cast doubt on them.
“I don’t care what any bureaucrat says — I trust the parents more than anyone. And I don’t care if a school district says reopen; if they don’t have a plan for reopening, no kids are going to come and no teachers are going to come, then you have no reopening,” Cuomo said at a coronavirus briefing Monday.
Cuomo said he hadn’t seen the specifics of the de Blasio administration’s plan, a 30-page document to be followed at a later date by more specific details on reopening protocols for each of the 1,800 public schools.
“I have not seen the city plan. I don’t review the actual plan. But if you don’t have the details of each school then you don’t have a plan, because how can a parent have a decision?” he asked.
Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio have tussled all summer over who will determine whether and how the city’s schools re-open in September. The mayor was asked Monday if he was irritated by Cuomo’s criticism.
“I am past the point of irritation. I just focus on the work and I focus on what I need to do for my fellow New Yorkers,” he said.
Cuomo’s skepticism that parents and teachers will buy in to reopening plans — which he says applies to districts statewide — comes as the unions representing city teachers and principals have said the city’s plan doesn’t do enough to keep them and students safe.
“Just because the school district says you shouldn’t worry about your child’s public health, that’s not going to be enough, not in this environment,” Cuomo said.
The governor has for weeks said he’ll have the final say on whether schools in New York City reopen this fall — a decision drawing closer, and one with no single solution that will satisfy everyone. Pressed on what it would take for him to stop a district’s reopening, Cuomo once again positioned it more as a question for parents and teachers than for him.
“The infection rate would have to go up where you knew you were dealing with a highly charged environment, or two, a particular school district wouldn’t have an acceptable plan,” he said. “I believe the unacceptable plan is going to be determined more by the parents and the teachers.”