New York state schools can fully reopen by September based on the current rate of COVID-19 positive numbers in the state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday.
The move would mean the return of children and teachers to the classroom after more than a year of pandemic-related upheaval, which has forced many to learn remotely, a circumstance that for many families was less than ideal. .
“I don’t think there’s any reason why all schools shouldn’t be open in September,” Cuomo said during a stop on Long Island to promote vaccinations. “Remote learning looks good and has worked quite well for some students. Some students have paid a heavy price.”
The comments come as New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said earlier today in an interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe that schools there would reopen in September without a remote option.
Remote learning has widened the education gap for many families during the COVID-19 pandemic, fostering wealthier homes in which parents have more control over their children and access to technology.
Cuomo said the arrangement ultimately discriminates against poorer students.
“Remote learning sounds good and has worked quite well for some students,” Cuomo said, adding, “No stretch of the imagination can replace distance learning with classroom participation.”
Statewide, New York’s COVID-19 rate continues to drop. It now stands at 0.90% over the last seven days on average. Cuomo also announced that 44.1% of all New Yorkers have completed the COVID-19 vaccination series.
As of now, no guidelines for the full reopening of schools have been put in place. New York State United Teachers, an umbrella labor group, said in a statement that the organization supports reopening.
“Educators know that being in person is the best way for students to learn and for teachers to teach,” said NYSUT President Andy Pallotta. on how districts, working with educators and parents, should develop their plans to get all students back into the classroom.