NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)Gov. Andrew Cuomo served notice Wednesday that he – not the mayor, not the president – will decide when and if schools in New York open in September, and he hinted at the possibility of different regional start dates.

CBS2’s Marcia Kramer has the story.

School officials in New York City and surrounding suburbs are working on elaborate plans for the fall semester, but as far as Cuomo is concerned, a plan is nothing but a plan until he gives the green light.

“If anybody sat here today, and told you that they could reopen the school in September, that would be reckless and negligent of that person,” Cuomo said.

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The governor said he wants to see what the infection rates are, if there are any summer spikes, before making the call. The state plans to issue guidance on reopening by July 13. Schools have until July 31 to submit plans.


The governor said he’s going to approve all the school reopening plans by the first week of August, but that could be a daunting task.

“You have 700 school districts in New York, 1,000-plus schools in New York City that our public schools, not including charter schools, religious schools and private schools. How will your Department of Education or you yourself and your staff be able to decide on thousands of reopening plans?” Kramer asked.

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“There’s more of a cohesive approach to this, Marcia. We have a committee that’s been in place,” Cuomo replied. “Basically you only have a couple of models, they’re more on regional variations than anything else.”

The governor is placing great stock in these regional variations, especially when it comes to regional infection rates. He told Kramer that could be a big factor on how and when each area opens its schools.

“If I have a lower infection rate, because I’m in upstate New York, is it safe for me to actually have more in-school days than a school that has a higher infection rate?” Cuomo said.

The governor was also furious about a tweet from President Donald Trump threatening to withhold funding if schools don’t reopen in September. New York state gets about $3.5 billion from the feds, and $2 billion goes to New York City.

“Threatened me, threatened me, threatened me. How many times have we been through this? I’m still here, right? You think the threat is going to work, Marcia?” Cuomo said.

The governor said he is also taking into consideration the ability of schools to install air filtration systems in deciding how many days kids can be in their classrooms.


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