Cuomo outlines framework for reopening schools

Gov. Andrew Cuomo released New York's plan to reopen schools if COVID-19 cases continue to decline.

"Schools will reopen if that region is in Phase 4 and the daily infection rate remains 5% or lower over a 14-day average," Cuomo said.

While we wait for the official decision, schools are working on their own specific safe reopening strategies.

"Districts have to have flexible plans," Cuomo added. "They are prioritizing safety, maximizing available space."

The waiting game isn't easy for Tom Kenny and his wife, Holly. They both work full-time and are hoping that it will be safe enough to send their 3-year-old son, Nathan, to nursery school in the fall.

"I have to be teaching lessons, my wife is working on proposals for her job and then we have Nathan at home with us who needs attention so it will be difficult if we are home again full-time," Tom Kenny said.

Todd Donaghy and his wife are both teachers in different districts. They now have to worry about reopening plans in each of those schools, plus the school district their three kids are in. They're bracing for the possibility of having to report to work while they're kids have to learn remotely.

"My wife's aunt is around so we might have to reach out to her to see if she's able to watch, my mom is not here all year, my mother-in-law works, so our options are limited," Donaghy said.

The White House is pushing for schools to reopen. Last week, President Donald Trump threatened to cut off federal funding to districts that don't reopen for in-person learning this fall. Decisions around education though, are largely controlled by state and local officials.

"I would also point to the consequences of staying closed, we have to look at the holistic health of the child and when you have according to HHS, one-fifth of all child abuse cases being reported by teachers and educational staff, we cannot stay closed," White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said.

New York State will make a decision in the first week of August. If your school district is slated to reopen but we see a spike in cases as the school year approaches, the state can pull the plug at any time. Over in California where COVID-19 cases are surging, the Los Angeles and San Diego public school districts announced Monday that instruction will be remote-only in the fall. 


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