New York schools can reopen in the coming weeks if the rate of new coronavirus cases remains as it has been over the last several weeks, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday said in a radio interview.
"Yes, if things stay where they are today, we're going to open schools," Cuomo said in an interview with WAMC.
A final decision on reopening schools for the start of the school year in September is expected at some point next week. School districts today are to submit their plans for reopening.
New coronavirus cases in New York have been largely flat in recent days. Cuomo has set a benchmark of a 5 percent increase in infections over a sustained period for a region as a ceiling that would bar reopening.
Most schools in New York began closing in March and April, moving to a remote learning model for the rest of the school year and upending traditional classroom instructions and examinations.
School districts are expected to submit plans for in-classroom safety precautions, remote learning or a mix of both models.
Reopening schools is expected to be expensive: Masks will be required, and social distancing on buses will be a necessity. But there are drawbacks to keeping children home as their parents or guardians return to work.
Cuomo in the interview Friday afternoon acknowledged the challenge facing parents, especially single-guardian households in poorer communities.
"What precautions have we done for remote learning in lower-income communities?" he said. "We have not done that well in the past; we have to do it better."