Gov. Andrew Cuomo criticized New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s announcement Saturday that schools would remain closed for the remainder of the school year, prompting Long Island officials to clarify their stances on their issue.
The governor said the decision wasn’t the mayor’s to make since it was Cuomo who ordered schools closed in the city and surrounding suburbs temporarily closed March 15 to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Nassau and Suffolk county leaders backed Cuomo’s stance that the decision needs to be made in unison, not one locality at a time.
“We have to have a coordinated approach,” Cuomo said. “It all have to be coordinated regionally.”
The governor has twice extended school closures in two-week increments, with the current closures extending to April 29, although it appears likely that he will extend that again until the rate of COVID-19 starts to decline.
“I support Governor Cuomo’s regional approach to the re-opening of schools and businesses,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said. “We are not an island unto ourselves. Everyone wants to get back to normal as soon as possible, but we have to take a data-driven, regional approach. Let’s continue to move forward in a way that’s safe, methodical, and coordinated with our neighbors.”
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone agreed.
“Similar to other issues that we deal with on Long Island, school closures should be addressed on a regional basis,” Bellone said. “I agree with the Governor’s prudent approach on this issue so that we can solicit input from local stakeholders and school districts across Suffolk County. If this pandemic has taught us one thing, it is that we are one New York and all in this together.”
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