NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – All schools across New York State will remain closed for at least another two weeks, extending the initial order to protect students during the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the new closure date to April 15, extending the initial two-week closures announced March 16 which were set to expire on April 1.
By April 15, Cuomo said officials will again assess if they should remain shut to students.
“I don’t do this joyfully, but when you look at where we are and the number of cases that are increasing, it only makes sense,” said Cuomo speaking from New York City’s Javits Center on Friday, ahead of his April 1 deadline to make a final decision.
As of Friday, there where 44,635 people in New York State who have tested positive for the COVID-19 infections. Of those, 6,481 have been hospitalized with 1,583 patients in the ICU. A total of 519 people have died from coronavirus-related illness.
“Now we’re looking at about 21 days for a possible apex, so we want to do everything we can to be ready for that increased capacity,” said Cuomo.
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High school student Logan Broadnax is ready to get back to class, reports CBS2’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas.
“Obviously being a senior, we want graduation and prom and all those special events,” he said.
Today Mayor Bill de Blasio did not completely rule out a return, even though his daily briefings provide consistently grim reminders about the coronavirus’ impact.
In a statement, the United Federation of Teachers said, “Schools will reopen when the experts say it is safe for students, staff and the general public, not before.”
Earlier this week after the death of Principal Dezann Romain, the union and others raised concerns about the Department of Health and the Department of Education’s prior handling of COVID-19 cases within the district.
We asked and the Department of Education has not provided us with any details about how many others have tested positive.
“They need to assure the public that the situation has been remedied,” said father Dwayene Broadnax.
Logan’s father said he too would like a traditional end to the school year but would need to see more improvement.
“They need to show that the level of infection has diminished or reduced greatly,” he said. “Or they need to show that some type of vaccine or something has been imposed to remedy this thing.”
Since cases began being tracked in New York, there have been 2,045 patients discharged after being hospitalized due to the infection.
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As the outbreak began in the Tri-State Area, Cuomo hesitated to shutter the schools, concerned about child care for essential workers and critical food programs for students in need – services Cuomo noted will continue into April during the closures.
The requirement for schools to have 180 teaching days has been waived, and students will remain eligible for graduation at the end of the school year, said Cuomo.
Despite suspending in-person instruction, schools will remain be handing out boxed meals so thousands of kids won’t go hungry.
In New York City, every child is eligible, whether they attend their neighborhood school or not.