Acknowledging the fact that many parents have had questions or expressed concern about reopening in the fall, Cuomo stressed the importance of keeping them updated and involved in safety planning.
Cuomo has urged that testing procedures and plans for contract tracing be included on school websites and has also urged schools to hold three Q&A sessions by August 21st, according to ABC New York. Additionally, he said that there needs to be at least one session where teachers will be able to ask questions of their school districts.
Besides following social distancing guidelines, students should also be required to wear face masks, which can be provided by the school if necessary.
Cuomo has also made it clear that schools will close if the infection level climbs to 9 percent, and that if a region in the state has to shut down schools, the order will apply to both public and private institutions.
Last month, New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio also unveiled the city’s proposed plan, which includes a mix of in-person and remote learning and smaller class sizes. All students are required to wear PPE.
Parents are also being given the option to forego in-person learning entirely. They have until Friday to notify the Department of Education of their decision — although parents will still be able to switch to remote learning “at any point,” De Blasio said during a Friday press conference.
“Most parents by far want their kids back in school,” he added, noting that he hoped their proposed “Blended Learning” plan will only be in effect for “part of our school year.”
School districts around the nation are taking a variety of approaches to reopening. The options include going fully online, bringing in students on a staggered schedule, providing a combination of remote and in-person classes and offering totally in-person classes.
President Donald Trump is a staunch proponent of reopening schools, and has even threatened to withhold funding should schools opt not to resume in-person learning.
As of Friday afternoon, the U.S. has seen more than 4.8 million coronavirus cases and 159,588 deaths, according to a New York Times database. In New York, a former epicenter of the virus, there have been at least 423,637 cases and 32,329 deaths — with just 5 new deaths being reported on Friday.
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