Parents and guardians need to have confidence in the reopening plans being submitted by school districts for holding in-person classroom instruction this September, and that doing so will be done safely, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Saturday said in a conference call.
As it stands now, New York is set to have schools reopen as new coronavirus cases found each day remain flat.
"It's not flicking a switch," Cuomo said in the call with reporters. "It's like all of these decisions. It's more complicated than we often think."
The results of 82,737 tests in the last day found 753 new cases, a rate of 0.91 percent. Four people have died of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, Cuomo said.
School district plans were due on Friday, detailing what steps would be taken to ensure safety of students, faculty and staff if reopening goes forward. The reopening is a delicate balance: Parents can't fully return to work students stay at home; some parents may be concerned with sending their kids back to school.
At the same time remote learning has its own draw backs, especially for poorer households and school districts.
"This is not a dictatorial decision by the school district," Cuomo said. "It's the parent's choice. It's the parent's choice to send their child."
There are also questions over testing, how often students are tested for the virus and what the turnaround time for those results would be for students. Reopening is likely to be a costly move for schools, which will also have to supply personal protective equipment to students and staff.
Cuomo on Saturday added the reopening of colleges and universities will be up to the individual institutions.
"This is not going to go away by the time the schools open. Your only alternative is to have an early detection system and that's testing," he said.