Public and private schools across New York State will officially remain closed for the remainder of the academic year to help curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday.
Colleges and universities are included in the order. The governor said schools will continue with distance-learning programs, meal delivery services, and child care for essential workers through the end of the academic year in June. A decision on summer school will be made at the end of the month and a decision on summer camps will also come at a later date, he added.
“We want schools to start develping now a plan to reopen,” Cuomo said, looking to the start of the new academic year in September. “There is no decision on the fall because the fall is a long time away.”
The governor previously extended school closures in two-week increments, but when New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said last month that he would keep city schools closed for the rest of the year, Cuomo said the decision was the governor’s.
Cuomo added Friday that the New York on Pause initiative that closed non-essential businesses statewide may be extended beyond May 15, but that decision will also be announced at a later date.
The school closure extension comes as the coronavirus cases rose to more than 300,000 in the state, but the rate of serious cases requiring hospitalization is declining along with the number of daily COVID-19 fatalities.
The governor and health officials maintain that the progress made in combatting the outbreak would be reversed if the state reopened schools and businesses too soon.
The decision effectively means that school districts will be planning remote graduation ceremonies for the class of 2020. Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said schools across LI will light up their score boards with the numbers 2020 in a nod to seniors missing their graduations.
“We want to amke sure that we’re giving them the tribute and the honor and the love that they deserve,” she said.
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