Officials Lock Horns Over NYC School Closure

Gov. Andrew Cuomo isn't so sure they'll remain closed for the school year
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 11, 2020 4:30 PM CDT
The Whole NYC School Closure Gets Confusing
In this March 31, 2020 file photo, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks at the USTA Indoor Training Center where a 350-bed temporary hospital will be built in New York.   (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)

Governor and mayor locked horns again Saturday, this time over whether school buildings in the nation's largest district would close for the rest of the year, with classes continuing online, the AP reports. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a news briefing that public school sites in the city's 1.1 million-student school district would shutter for the rest of the academic year to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Soon afterward, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at his own briefing that the decision was his to make. "It is my legal authority in this situation, yes," Cuomo said. De Blasio, like Cuomo a Democrat, had said that it was not an easy decision to close school buildings in favor of online learning, but that "it is the right decision." The goal, he said, is to reopen school sites by September.

But Cuomo said school closings would have to be coordinated with districts surrounding the city. "So I understand the mayor’s position, which is he wants to close them until June, and we may do that, but we're going to do it in a coordinated sense with the other localities," Cuomo said. "It makes no sense for one locality to take an action that’s not coordinated with the others." When a reporter suggested that the mixed messages would confuse parents, Cuomo said, "We just clarified it. It's not going to be decided in the next few days because we don't know." Adding to the confusion, an email from the city to parents was issued while Cuomo spoke, saying that "NYC school students will continue with Remote Learning for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year."

(Read more New York stories.)

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