All New York K-12 schools and college facilities will remain closed for the rest of the academic year, as ordered by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
During a live press release on May 1, Cuomo announced his decision to keep in-person education facilities closed while continuing distance learning for the rest of the school year.
Cuomo’s statewide stay-at-home order went into effect on March 22, and is currently set to stay in effect until May 15. By staying at home and maintaining social distancing, New Yorkers saved about 100,000 people from getting seriously ill, Cuomo says.
“What happened is, New Yorkers, Americans, changed reality,” Cuomo said in his press release. “They literally changed the path of the virus spread and reversed the spread. That’s what the close down procedures did, that’s what the masks have done, that’s what the social distancing has done. New Yorkers and all across this country, you saw that number change from that up trajectory to the downward trajectory.”
To further the downward trajectory of COVID-19 cases, Cuomo and his advisors have decided that — in order to maintain social distancing and protect the 4.2 million students in New York — schools should remain closed for the remainder of the academic year.
As Cuomo suggested, it would be impossible to operate a school while social distancing, ensuring everyone wears masks and maintaining enough space on public transportation to keep everyone safe.
“Our past actions changed the path’s trajectory,” Cuomo said. “Our present actions will determine the future trajectory. It is that clear. It is cause and effect.”
In addition to closing schools, Cuomo waived the 180-day teaching requirement that schools were previously required to adhere to.
The announcement left concerned parents and students with many questions: Will this change the way public schools are run once they reopen? How will classes maintain social distancing, if necessary? Will there be more classes of smaller size?
The future for public schools is uncertain, and Cuomo says he will not have an answer to when they will reopen until at least the end of the month, when they a decision will be made regarding summer schools.
Before schools and colleges can reopen, they must provide a plan to incorporate every safety precaution that is currently in effect, which must be approved by the state.