The decision affects all K-12 schools and colleges in the state.
"We must protect our children," he said. "Every parent, every citizen feels that. We must protect our students. We have to protect our educators, and given the circumstances that we are in and the precautions that would have to be put in place to come up with a plan to reopen schools with all those new protocols. How do you operate a school that is socially distanced, with masks, without gatherings, with a public transportation system that has a lower number of students on it, how would you get that plan up and running? We don't think it's possible in a way that would keep our children and educators safe. So we will have the schools closed for the rest of the year."
The governor said that distance learning programs already in place will continue, as will school breakfast and lunch programs for students.
Shari Camhi, superintendent of the Baldwin School District on Long Island, said she was not surprised by Cuomo's decision.
"I think emotionally that helps people," she said. "I think they know exactly what to expect. I think we're in a really good groove right now."
Camhi said the struggle for schools is at this point in the year, they should already be planning for September.
"While I appreciate his plan of rolling out things a little bit at time, the truth is for us to do September, well, we need to know now what September is going to look like," she said.
Cuomo said a decision on summer school will be made by the end of May, and that there is no decision on the fall yet, "because the fall is a long time away."
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