New York City parents – the mayor heard you loud and clear.
New York City Public Schools will open in September, Mayor Bill de Blasio said during Thursday’s coronavirus press briefing.
“I understand parents want answers. Here are some answers. Schools will be opening in September,” de Blasio said, answering a reporter’s question about a concrete timeline.
The mayor said schools will have a maximum number of students who can attend based on any available space they can convert to learning areas that support social distancing. In cases where all students can’t attend a certain class, schools have staggered schedules, the mayor said.
De Blasio said that some schools will be able to have all of their students back in class when you factor in space, while others would not.
All of them must enable hand washing, face masks and deep cleanings, he said.
Schools are still in the process of putting together plans and have not been asked to submit them to the state but will be ready when that time comes, Chancellor Richard Carranza said.
Ultimately, though, the decision will be made by the state as to whether schools will open in the fall.
It is state law that governs the opening and closing of schools during the pandemic, not local government, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s communications director Dani Lever said in a statement.
“The Governor has also told all school districts to have plans ready for the ‘new normal’ in the event schools can open,” Lever said. “The Governor hopes schools will reopen but will not endanger the health of students or teachers, and will make the determination once we have more current information.”
It’s not uncommon for Cuomo and de Blasio to disagree.
The two have had a yearslong feud that began just a few months after de Blasio took office in 2014 amid the newly installed mayor’s push to expand pre-kindergarten and after-school programs in New York City. While it had cooled in recent months, it has played out in dozens of episodes of conflict and bickering.
In April, de Blasio announced that the city’s public school buildings would remain closed through the end of the school year because of coronavirus concerns – but the governor later said no decision about the schools had been made. Ultimately, the schools did close, and students transitioned to virtual learning.
Wherever they land on this issue, there is apparent widespread support among parents to get the kids back in the classroom.
At least 75% of parents said they want to send their children back to school in September, de Blasio said during Thursday’s press conference.
The survey was given to over 400,000 public school parents by the Department of Education, de Blasio said.
CNN’s Erica Orden contributed to this story.