ALBANY — Schools and colleges across the state are closed for the remainder of the school year, according to a directive by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday, May 1.
The decision, widely expected, applies to all 700 public school districts with their 4,800 elementary and high schools, 1,800 private schools, 89 SUNY and CUNY campuses and 100 private colleges. In all it will impact 4.2 million students.
Students have been using distance learning to complete coursework since the schools were closed in March and they will continue through the end of the school year.
“Given the circumstances we are in and precautions we would have to put in place with all the new protocols,” Cuomo said. “How do you operate a school that is socially distanced, with masks, without gatherings and with a public transportation system. We don’t think it is possible to do that in a way that would keep our students and our educators sage.”
He said a decision on summer schools will be made at the end of the month. The possibility of graduation ceremonies, which generally take place at the end of June, were not discussed.
He said schools will have to develop a plan to reopen that incorporate things like how to monitor COVID-19, how to have extra-curricular actives based on safety protocols and how to implement alternative calendars.
Last month, the state Board of Regents relaxed graduation requirements for seniors in the Class of 2020.
“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,” said New York State United Teachers President Andy Pallotta in a statement. “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.”
Meanwhile, the number of hospitalizations, the three-day hospitalization rate and the number of people who are on a ventilator continues to decrease. There were 289 fatalities reported statewide from Thursday to Friday bringing the total to more than 18,600.