Education

Governor says decision on schools opening in fall will come in early August

A decision on whether schools can open in the fall will be made during the first week of August, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday.

“We want to make that decision with the best available data,” he said.

Mr. Cuomo provided a general timeline, starting July 13 when the state will provide a finalized guidance to school districts. Local school districts will then submit plans on how they would reopen — whether it be in full or partially — by July 31.

Between Aug. 1 and 7, the state will announce a decision on whether schools will reopen.

“The facts change here day to day, week to week,” the governor said. “I understand there’s a drop dead date where you have to make a decision by a certain date. But wait until that date to make a decision because the facts may change.”

Mr. Cuomo raised the question of whether there could be different decisions based on regions of the state on Aug. 1, and said there could be a variance because of different infection rates.

He said school plans should largely be similar by region.

“Schools on Long Island will all have the same plan,” he said. “It’s not an individual school plan. If there’s a variation, it’s a regional variation.”

Mr. Cuomo said the state will not bow to federal pressure to have schools reopen in the fall. President Trump threatened to cut off federal funding if schools do not reopen. Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) has also said schools should reopen in the fall.

“We can’t keep them locked out of the classrooms like this any longer,” Mr. Zeldin tweeted.

Mr. Cuomo said it’s a state decision.

“That is the law and that is the way we’re going to proceed,” he said. “We will open the schools if it is safe to open the schools. Everybody wants the schools open. Everybody.”

Mr. Cuomo said it would be “reckless and negligent” for someone to say today that schools can open in September.

“You don’t know what the infection rate is, you don’t know what else is going on,” he said. “If you’re a parent, you decide the night before. That’s what parents are going to do.”