NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo is raising serious questions about New York City’s school reopening plan, saying Mayor Bill de Blasio has to do a better job of convincing parents and teachers they should trust him that the buildings are safe.
If Cuomo was asked to give the city’s plan a grade, it would probably be an “incomplete” because, he says, it has failed to answer the key question parents and teachers have before they will enter schools in the fall.
“They are not going to trust the school district. Just because the school district says you shouldn’t worry about a child’s public health, that’s not going to be enough,” Cuomo told reporters, including CBS2’s Marcia Kramer, on Monday. “This is not going to be the school district puts out a plan and then by fiat, by dictatorship, that is the plan.”
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The city’s plan is for students to go back to the classroom one to three days a week and do remote learning the rest of the time, otherwise known as “blended learning.” And that’s only if the city’s overall infection rate is below 3%.
The governor said he has been bombarded with questions from parents and teachers about testing and how the city will stay ahead of the demand.
“How does New York State and New York City have the capacity to test not only 1.1 million students, but tens of thousands of teachers and principals?” Kramer asked.
“Great question. What is the representative sample? You need to test what percent of that 1.2 million to be meaningful on what basis, and then how do you do it?” Cuomo said.
Kramer put that question to Mayor de Blasio.
“How are you going to change your plan so everybody gets on board?” Kramer asked.
“We’re taking a very stringent approach, focused on health and safety. We provide a very clear roadmap to the state and we’re going to keep providing a lot of additional information,” de Blasio said.
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The governor said parents are going to focus on the plans for the individual schools their kids will go to from the outset. Those were their questions from the outset.
“How are they going to track everyone being positive or negative in the schools?” Loreny Ramirez asked.
“It’s harder to keep them in the safety zone, so it’s better to do when you’re at home,” Shakeema Mills added.
“I’d rather have a headache at home, than a headache from the COVID,” Joe Liew said.
The governor said the mayor and school districts throughout the state should have meetings with parents so they have a clear picture of the plans for each individual school.