N.Y.C. Schools Can Reopen, Cuomo Says, Making It one in all Few …

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In a long-awaited announcement, the governor says schools can welcome back students if the rate of infection in their communities remains low.

About N.Y.C.
New York City, often called simply New York and abbreviated as NYC, is the most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2019 population of 8,336,817 distributed over about 302.6 square miles (784 km2), New York City is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the U.S. state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass. With almost 20 million people in its metropolitan statistical area and approximately 23 million in its combined statistical area, it is one of the world’s most populous megacities. New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, significantly influencing commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, art, fashion, and sports. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.Situated on one of the world’s largest natural harbors, New York City is composed of five boroughs, each of which is a county of the State of New York. The five boroughs—Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island—were consolidated into a single city in 1898. The city and its metropolitan area constitute the premier gateway for legal immigration to the United States. As many as 800 languages are spoken in New York, making it the most linguistically diverse city in the world. New York is home to more than 3.2 million residents born outside the United States, the largest foreign-born population of any city in the world as of 2016. As of 2019, the New York metropolitan area is estimated to produce a gross metropolitan product (GMP) of $2.0 trillion. If the New York metropolitan area were a sovereign state, it would have the eighth-largest economy in the world. New York is home to the highest number of billionaires of any city in the world.New York City traces its origins to a trading post founded by colonists from the Dutch Republic in 1624 on Lower Manhattan; the post was named New Amsterdam in 1626. The city and its surroundings came under English control in 1664 and were renamed New York after King Charles II of England granted the lands to his brother, the Duke of York. New York was the capital of the United States from 1785 until 1790, and has been the largest U.S. city since 1790. The Statue of Liberty greeted millions of immigrants as they came to the U.S. by ship in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and is a symbol of the U.S. and its ideals of liberty and peace. In the 21st century, New York has emerged as a global node of creativity, entrepreneurship, and environmental sustainability, and as a symbol of freedom and cultural diversity. In 2019, New York was voted the greatest city in the world per a survey of over 30,000 people from 48 cities worldwide, citing its cultural diversity.Many districts and landmarks in New York City are well known, including three of the world’s ten most visited tourist attractions in 2013. A record 62.8 million tourists visited New York City in 2017. Times Square is the brightly illuminated hub of the Broadway Theater District, one of the world’s busiest pedestrian intersections, and a major center of the world’s entertainment industry. Many of the city’s landmarks, skyscrapers, and parks are known around the world. Manhattan’s real estate market is among the most expensive in the world. New York is home to the largest ethnic Chinese population outside of Asia, with multiple distinct Chinatowns across the city. Providing continuous 24/7 service and contributing to the nickname The City that Never Sleeps, the New York City Subway is the largest single-operator rapid transit system worldwide, with 472 rail stations. The city has over 120 colleges and universities, including Columbia University, New York University, Rockefeller University, and the City University of New York system, which is the largest urban public university system in the United States. Anchored by Wall Street in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan, New York City has been called both the world’s leading financial center and the most financially powerful city in the world, and is home to the world’s two largest stock exchanges by total market capitalization, the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ.

N.Y.C. Schools Can Reopen, Cuomo Says, Making It One of Few …

About Schools
A school is an educational institution designed to provide learning spaces and learning environments for the teaching of students (or “pupils”) under the direction of teachers. Most countries have systems of formal education, which is commonly compulsory. In these systems, students progress through a series of schools. The names for these schools vary by country (discussed in the Regional section below) but generally include primary school for young children and secondary school for teenagers who have completed primary education. An institution where higher education is taught, is commonly called a university college or university, but these higher education institutions are usually not compulsory.
In addition to these core schools, students in a given country may also attend schools before and after primary (Elementary in the US) and secondary (Middle school in the US) education. Kindergarten or preschool provide some schooling to very young children (typically ages 3–5). University, vocational school, college or seminary may be available after secondary school. A school may be dedicated to one particular field, such as a school of economics or a school of dance. Alternative schools may provide nontraditional curriculum and methods.
Non-government schools, also known as private schools may be required when the government does not supply adequate, or specific educational needs. Other private schools can also be religious, such as Christian schools, Gurukula,Hindu School, madrasa, hawzas (Shi’a schools), yeshivas (Jewish schools), and others; or schools that have a higher standard of education or seek to foster other personal achievements. Schools for adults include institutions of corporate training, military education and training and business schools.
In home schooling and online schools, teaching and learning take place outside a traditional school building. Schools are commonly organized in several different organizational models, including departmental, small learning communities, academies, integrated, and schools-within-a-school.

Credit…Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

Eliza Shapiro

  • Aug. 7, 2020Updated 12:32 p.m. ET

Schools across New York can reopen for in-person instruction this fall, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Friday, solidifying New York’s status as one of the few states in America that has a virus transmission rate low enough to forge ahead with reopening plans.

N.Y.C. Schools Can Reopen, Cuomo Says, Making It One of Few …

Just a few months after New York became a global epicenter of the pandemic, the governor opened the door for millions of students across the state to return to classrooms, even as most public school students in the country will start the school year remotely.

But Mr. Cuomo’s announcement does not guarantee that school buildings in the state’s roughly 700 local districts will actually reopen in the coming weeks. It is now up to local politicians and superintendents to decide whether to reopen, and how to do so. Their in-person reopening plans must also be approved by the state’s education and health departments in the coming weeks.

Under the governor’s announcement, schools can decide to open as long as they are in a region where the average rate of positive coronavirus tests is below 5 percent, a threshold recommended by the World Health Organization to begin general reopening that has recently been adopted by some school districts.

Most of the state, including New York City, has maintained a positivity rate of about 1 percent. Mayor Bill de Blasio has said schools can only open here if the positivity rate is below 3 percent.

“All schools can open,” Mr. Cuomo said during a news conference.

“If anyone can open schools, we can open schools,” he said, adding, “we have the best infection rate in the country.”

Though Mr. Cuomo has frequently wielded his power over school closures throughout the pandemic, in some cases contradicting Mr. de Blasio on key decisions, he has signaled that his role in the debate over reopening will be limited to setting the threshold for a safe reopening, and unilaterally shutting down schools if that threshold is reached.

Mr. Cuomo frequently celebrates the state’s transformation from a global epicenter of the virus to one of the safest places in the country in terms of transmission levels, and has received accolades for his management of the crisis. New York’s test positivity rate is now among the lowest in the nation; the rate in states like Florida where there has been enormous resistance to reopening schools reached as high as 20 percent last month.

The school reopening debate, however, presents the governor with a political conundrum from which it might be difficult to emerge victorious.

If the city does reopen schools, it could alienate him from educators and the teachers’ union, a crucial ally. But if the city halts or delays its opening plan, it could leave over 1 million families in the lurch over child care, and hundreds of thousands of low-income children, homeless children, and students with disabilities without in-person learning for months to come.

Mr. Cuomo acknowledged those difficulties on Friday, saying that he had been “deluged” with calls from parents and teachers who have concerns about reopening.

The Coronavirus Outbreak

Back to School

Updated Aug. 7, 2020

The latest highlights as the first students return to U.S. schools.

    • Schools are open in parts of the country — and some are already closing again. Students have already faced altered classrooms and emergency quarantines. We spoke to some to see what school is like in the age of Covid-19.
    • Photos of a crowded high school hallway evoked outrage on social media. The student who took them says she was suspended.
    • Faced with remote learning or socially distanced classroom options, some parents of rising kindergartners are considering holding their kids back.
    • Teachers, show us your classrooms! We want to see how educators are preparing to keep themselves and students safe if their schools open this fall.

“If the teachers don’t come back, then you can’t really open the schools,” he said. “If the parents don’t send their students, then you’re not really opening the schools.”

Union leaders who represent teachers in New York City and the rest of the state have raised alarms about reopening, saying they do not believe it is currently safe to reopen in at least some parts of the state. Mr. Cuomo has a political alliance with Michael Mulgrew, the president of the city’s powerful United Federation of Teachers.

Though it is illegal for teachers to strike in New York City, Mr. Mulgrew recently hinted at potential legal action against the city if it reopens schools and the union does not believe adequate safety precautions are in place.

He told his members last month: “I am preparing to do whatever we need to do if we think the schools are not safe and the city disagrees with us.” Teachers over 65 and those with pre-existing conditions are eligible for medical exemptions that will allow them to work from home.

“I don’t think you want to get into a legal battle with the teachers,” Mr. Cuomo said Friday, adding, “teachers have to feel safe, they can’t teach if they don’t feel safe.”

The governor directed districts on Friday to publicly post their plans for testing teachers and students after the school year begins — a demand from the teachers’ union that New York City has not released significant details on. Mr. Cuomo also asked all districts to post their protocols for when someone in a school tests positive. Mr. de Blasio outlined the city’s plan for that last week: Just two cases in different classrooms of the same school could force its closing for two weeks.

And Mr. Cuomo said school districts must hold more virtual meetings with parents and teachers throughout August to answer questions.

Mr. Cuomo is leaving most of the other details about how to actually reopen safely to individual school districts, which have spent the summer creating reopening plans to be approved by the State Education Department. Districts across the state are tentatively planning to reopen late in August or early next month. New York City is scheduled to start school on Sept. 10.

The challenges facing all districts are myriad, but especially so in New York City, the nation’s largest school system, and the only major district in America currently planning to reopen even part-time.

New York City and other districts across the state are still finalizing strategies that allow for social distancing in school buildings, trying to find enough nurses to staff school buildings, and upgrading or replacing ventilation systems in classrooms. Districts are also trying to improve their remote instruction plans, since educators did not have much time to perfect online learning when schools shuttered suddenly in the spring.

Many teachers and parents across the state have expressed alarm about returning to school buildings as the virus has spiked in other states. But families across New York say they are desperate for schools and child care centers to open so that they can return to work. About 75 percent of New York City students are low-income and many of their parents are essential workers or employees who cannot work from home.

Some local officials, including Mr. de Blasio, have indicated that they may not make a final decision whether to reopen, even part-time, until late this month or even early next month.

New York City’s system, with 1.1 million children and 1,800 schools, is planning to open on hybrid model, in which children report to school one to three days a week and learn online the rest of the time.

If New York can successfully reopen its schools, it could provide a blueprint for other districts closely watching how the city fares.