New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday said he has his “fingers crossed” that schools in the state are prepared to safely reopen for the fall semester, while admitting he questions whether he would send his own children back to a New York City classroom amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Cuomo, during an appearance on NBC’s “Today” on Friday, said he “would have a lot of questions,” when asked whether he’d send his own children to school in New York City amid the pandemic.
“This is a risky proposition no matter how you do it, let’s be honest,” he said. “We’ve seen schools open — we’ve seen colleges open — and get into trouble in one week. So there’s a lot of questions to answer.”
When asked whether he was confident schools were ready to reopen, Cuomo said: “Fingers crossed on all of this.”
Cuomo has repeatedly said that schools would only reopen in New York if parents and teachers were on board, again stressing Friday that it should be decided “school district by school district.”
“We have 700 school districts and I’m sure we’re going to have 700 different answers in New York,” he said.
Cuomo’s comments come after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday rolled out the city’s “Back to School Pledge,” which outlined the city’s safety and health commitments for students, parents and the school community prior to the start of the school year.
“With our record-low infection rate, New York City is the safest major city in America,” de Blasio said. “Our plan to reopen our schools is the most rigorous in the country, and I want parents to know that we are taking absolutely every precaution to keep their children healthy and safe.”
The pledge included personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies for all schools, with a 30-day supply on hand at all times; full-time nurses in every public school building; mandatory social distancing; and students and staff are required to wear face coverings throughout the school day.
The pledge also requires that all Department of Education employees be tested for COVID-19 monthly.
De Blasio also committed to having all school buildings disinfected overnight, every night, and vowed to have students learning five days a week, “no matter what.”
“Whether in-person or online, students will study in supportive environments with rigorous academic standards,” de Blasio’s office said Thursday, noting that remote students will “interact with their teachers every day,” and that student schedules will be “preset and consistent to allow families to plan.”
Meanwhile, Cuomo touted his state’s recovery efforts, saying that New York went from “the highest infection rate in the United States to the lowest.”
“If there’s any state that can reopen schools," he said, "it’s us.”