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Cuomo says all New York school districts can reopen in the fall

Cuomo allowing New York Schools to reopen
Cuomo allowing New York Schools to reopen 03:49

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Friday that all school districts in the state can reopen in the fall. COVID-19 infection rates are well below the required targets set by the state's Department of Health.

"Good news, all schools can reopen," Cuomo said during a teleconference broadcast on WBEN radio. "Again, we have the best infection rate in the country."

School districts are allowed to make their own decisions about reopening, or to what to degree they reopen, according to the governor. "They can do in-person school, but it is up to them," he said.  

Cuomo said the state will be able to bring the "same level of intelligence" to school reopening that it brought to the economic reopening. "If anyone can do it we can do it," he said. 

School districts will be expected to submit reopening plans by the end of next week, according to the governor. Plans will cover issues like what happens if a student tests positive. Students in at least five states have tested positive for the coronavirus after going back to school.

"We're giving flexibility to the school districts," Cuomo said Friday. "Like the economic reopening, there is no one size fits all," he said, adding that that is "even more true" for schools.

Districts will also be expected to hold multiple listening sessions to answer parents' questions about reopening. The city of Buffalo already has five such sessions scheduled, according to WBEN. 

There were only three COVID-19 deaths in the entire state on Monday, and New York City had no COVID-19 deaths for three straight days. 

Despite the progress, the governor issued a stark warning for residents to continue to take the virus seriously — and New York City announced earlier this week that it is setting up checkpoints to inform visitors of quarantine rules.

"Our progress in New York is even better than we expected, thanks to the hard work of New Yorkers," Cuomo said in a statement. "But we must protect that progress, which is why today we are adding another state to our travel advisory. We cannot go back to the hell we experienced just a few months ago — and surging infection rates across the country threaten to bring us back there — so we must all remain vigilant."

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