New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio doubled down Sunday on his plan to close schools in the nation’s largest district for the remainder of the academic year, but Governor Andrew Cuomo says ultimately the decision lies with him.
De Blasio announced Saturday that the public schools serving in the city’s 1.1 million-students would close for the rest of the academic year to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
“It’s the moral question,” de Blasio said on Sunday. “What’s the right thing to do for our parents, our kids, our teachers.”
But Cuomo reiterated that school closings must be coordinated with districts surrounding the city and the Tri-State area.
“We are not going to open any school until it’s safe from a public health point of view. We will not open schools one minute sooner than they should be opened, but we won’t open schools one minute later than they should be opened either and it has to work in a coordinated plan with businesses,” Cuomo said. “As I sit here am I prepared to say what we will be doing in June, no. I do not know what we will be doing in June. Nobody knows what we will be doing in June.”
Mayor de Blasio earlier made clear that schools should be closed until the fall, but added that the governor is doing a very good job.
“The governor and I have agreed on the vast majority of things. I have been supportive and appreciative of his leadership. I have said many times I think he is doing a very good job. We agree on the main strategic job and things we needed to do from the start,” de Blasio said.
“There may be times when people have different perspectives, that’s not unusual. My single focus is on the children, the parents and educators of this city.”
The decision to close through the end of the academic year in June impacts 1,800 schools across the city already shut down since March 16.