NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – President Donald Trump is pushing for schools to open this fall, even as coronavirus cases continue to climb across the country.

“We want to learn in the classroom, so we want them open in the fall,” he said Wednesday.

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy Devos slammed plans to alternate days in the classroom.

“They must fully open and they must be fully operational,” she said.

The president threatened to cut off funding for schools that don’t reopen and criticized his own Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s safety guidelines, calling them “very tough and expensive.”

“It’s guidance. It’s not requirements,” said CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said it’s a state and local decision when and where to reopen. He said he’s following the science and will make the final call.

“If anybody sat here today and told you that they can open the school in September, that would be reckless and negligent,” he said.


New York City public schools plan to reopen with staggered schedules so students can properly social distance. Most children will be in the classroom two or three days a week, then remote learning the others.

Families also have the option to stick with 100% remote learning. They can opt back into blended learning on a quarterly basis and opt out at any time.

Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza said health and safety is the priority.

“We can make up learning for students. We cannot bring a student back who is infected and passes away,” he said.

“Just not until it’s safe,” parent Kim Waters said. “Until we’re figuring it all out.”

“If corona goes down, yes kids should go back to school. If they could do it with distancing, yes,” another parent added.

Schools will be cleaned every night, face coverings will be required, and large spaces, like cafeterias, gyms and outdoor areas, will be used for classes.

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Parents said there are lessons to learn and then apply in September.

“I think we have to do it in a smart way and we have to take all precautions necessary,” said Adrienne Young.

Molly Byrd, 11, and her twin brother are in favor of a staggered schedule as they head into the sixth grade.

“Because you wouldn’t be in school the entire time, so it’s less likely we would get sick or get other people sick,” she said.

Medical professionals still warn about potential future threats.

“It’s really hard to make a decision right now. I think, as we see, the cases rising, and obviously in the southwest people are traveling to New York,” said Dr. Gaddy Noy, of Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center.


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