New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Friday that all K-12 schools and colleges in the state will stay closed for the rest of the school year. Cuomo called it the "best course of action to keep students, educators and staff safe" and said schools will continue to provide distance learning.
"We must protect our children. Every parent and citizen feels that," he said.
The governor said no decision has been made about the fall reopening of schools, but officials are discussing plans for kids' "summer activities." A decision on summer school programming will be made by the end of May, he said.
"We're trying to stage decisions at intervals that give us the information, but also enough time for people to make the preparations they need to make," he said.
The announcements came as the single-day death toll due to COVID-19 dropped below 300 for the first time in weeks. There were 289 deaths on Thursday, Cuomo said.
New York domestic violence reports doubled in April
Cuomo said at his briefing that reports of domestic violence continued to increase as the state entered its second month under stay-at-home orders. According to Cuomo, domestic violence reports went up 15% in March, and doubled in April.
"That is a frightening rate and level of increase," he said.
New Yorkers dealing with violence in their homes are encouraged to contact the state's helpline at 1-844-997-2121.
"You can call, just discuss the issue, you don't have to give your identity, you don't have to say where you live, but people who need help should reach out," Cuomo said Friday.
"There is no shame in reaching out and saying I need help," he said. "This is a national epidemic, it's a statewide epidemic."