Cuomo: School’s Out for the Academic Year

Updated 7:18 p.m.: Schools will remain closed for the remainder of the school year, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Friday, who cited the need to protect staff and students from the spread of Covid-19.

“Given the circumstances that we’re in and the precautions that would have to be put in place, to come up with a plan to reopen schools with all those new protocols…we don’t think it’s possible,” he said.

Huntington school district superintendent James W. Polansky said, “While not unexpected, I know that this is disappointing in many respects. Our focus in Huntington will remain on addressing the learning and social/emotional needs of our children and families throughout. In that there has been no recess of any sort since we began the distance learning program, it is likely that we will make adjustments to the calendar over the next two months. Those accommodations will be communicated as soon as finalized.”

School districts shut down under executive order on March 16, with plans originally calling for a possible reopening in April and then mid-May.

However, though the spread of the virus has slowed dramatically, new cases and fatalities are being reported each day.

Cuomo is also directing all schools and colleges to create re-opening plans that re-imagine school facilities in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. These plans should consider how schools can monitor the spread of COVID-19; how to reinforce student safety; when and how to resume extracurricular activities; protocols for special student populations; steps to ensure student mental health; alternative academic calendars; among other considerations. All plans will be reviewed and approved by the state.

New York United Teachers said, ““We have said all along that the health and safety of students and educators must be the primary concern during this crisis. Keeping school buildings and colleges closed for the rest of this academic year is the smart choice. We will work with Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa and state education and health officials on planning a safe and gradual re-opening. We also will continue advocating that summer school programming should be voluntary, with decisions on what is right for students made at the local level.”

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said, ”

Making the decision to keep schools closed through the end of the academic year was not an easy one but it was the right one for Suffolk County. .. While there certainly has not been a school year that ends quite like this one, my office remains in constant contact with the School Superintendents Association and I would like to thank each of our School Superintendents and all of our teachers who have found innovative ways to continue school instruction through remote learning. This effort has been a herculean undertaking between government and our teachers, school administrators, parents and even the children who have bought into this coordinated approach and our hope is that the 2020-2021 school year will be the best one yet.”

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