The governor pointed to the state’s success at fighting COVID-19, as New York was once the epicenter during the pandemic. Associated Press reports that the decision allows schools to offer a hybrid model of both in-person and remote learning. Students will be mandated to wear masks during the school day.
“Everywhere in the state, every region is below the threshold that we established,” Cuomo said during a news conference. He added that the state can “revisit” if the infection rate surges. “If any state can do this, we can do this,” he said.
A number of schools have arranged to begin the year with students having to go to school only a few days a week, with the rest of their time spent virtually learning. Individual districts will handle some of the smaller details, like how to deal with sick students, how long children will stay in a class, and if they want to have in-person instruction.
New York City’s public school system—the U.S.’s biggest district—has been shuttered since March 13, and the state’s remaining schools closed by March 18. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has been looking to reopen schools in September, but with caution.
“We will reopen safely,” he tweeted on Friday. “If COVID-19 positivity rate goes above 3%, we will not open.”
He believes that returning to classrooms will boost the economy since working parents have been made to stay at home with their kids. “It will not be easy but I think most parents feel strongly that even some time in school is a lot better for their kids than none,“ de Blasio said Friday, at a separate briefing.
Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Houston, and other cities have decided to begin the year with remote learning. While the outbreak has largely subsided, cases still persist in New York. In July, around 10,000 New York City residents tested positive for the virus.