New York City students will return to school in the fall with a “blended learning” model, the mayor announced Wednesday. CBS New York reports Mayor Bill de Blasio said most students will attend in-person classes two or three days a week, depending on the week, and learn online the other days.
He said face coverings and social distancing will be required, along with hand washing stations and new cleaning protocols.
Families who aren’t comfortable having their children return to school can choose to stay remote. They will be given the chance to opt back in on a quarterly basis.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said later Wednesday at a press conference that the state’s 700 public school districts will submit individual reopening plans by the end of July. Those plans will then be reviewed by the state during the first week of August, and either accepted or denied.
Cuomo, who has previously said it is up to him to decide whether schools will reopen, would not comment on whether De Blasio’s plan will be denied by the state. The governor said only that the city’s plan will be reviewed through the same criteria as every other school district.
“No locality has the legal authority to determine if they open or not,” Cuomo said. “We have 700 school districts, none of those school districts can say ‘I’m opening on August 1’… it is a state decision.”
New York City was once the U.S. epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic and its schools were closed in March as part of sweeping efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19. Last week, the mayor said a Department of Education survey found 75% of families wanted their kids to return.
The city’s public school system, with more than 1 million people, is the largest in the country.
Governor Cuomo also stressed Wednesday that the decision of whether or not to open schools is not up the federal government. On Tuesday, President Trump launched an all-out effort to push states to reopen schools this fall, arguing that some may keep schools closed not because of the coronavirus pandemic but for political reasons against the will of families.
“We want to reopen the schools. Everybody wants it. The moms want it, the dads want it, the kids want it. It’s time to do it,” Mr. Trump said at a White House event. “We’re very much gong to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools.”
Cuomo said Wednesday that the president does not have the legal authority to reopen schools.
“We’re doing everything to be open in September,” Cuomo said. But the governor called it “reckless” to promise families that will be the case.
Contributing: The Associated Press
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