NEW YORK CITY, N.Y. (WWNY) - Governor Andrew Cuomo said Monday that parents will be involved in the decision to send their children to class if schools do indeed reopen this fall.
“This is an issue of public health. Just because the school district says, ‘You shouldn’t worry about your child’s public health,’ that’s not going to be enough. Not in this environment,” he said. “Parents are going to want to understand the information for themselves...Parents are the ultimate decision makers here.”
School districts across New York had to submit reopening plans to the state by last Friday. The governor said a decision will be made this week on whether schools will reopen.
He said the state won’t be alone in making the decision; parents, teachers and students need to be included in the discussion.
“It’s not, ‘well the government said the schools are open, now everybody must go.’ It’s not going to happen that way,” said Cuomo. “They’re informed, parents. They’re the most informed people on this issue, probably in the country. They’ve lived through it. They’re going to have questions. This is not going to be the school district puts out a plan and then by fiat, by dictatorship that is the plan. You need the parents to be comfortable. You need the teachers to be comfortable. You need the children to show up at school and there’s going to have to be a discussion.”
Cuomo encourages every school district to set up a virtual discussion room with parents to explain plans, answer questions and have discussions.
He said some questions parents have concerns about testing for COVID-19.
“I’ll tell you what they’re asking me. I’ll tell you what they’re going to ask every school district: how are you going to test; how many tests are you going to take; are you sure that you have them lined up; are you sure those are enough tests; is it a representative sample, how long is it going to take to turn around the tests,” said Cuomo.
It was the first time the governor mentioned anything about testing related to schools. He did not provide specifics about exactly who would be tested.