President Donald Trump held a White House roundtable this week to call for American schools to fully reopen this fall. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has responded: Not on my watch.
At his Wednesday news conference, embattled New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a plan for in-person attendance at New York City schools, the nation's largest school district, will limit in-person attendance to just one to three days a week.
New York City's school district has 1,800 schools and 1.1 million students, per The New York Times.
De Blasio's plan might keep hundreds of thousands of parents from fully returning to work.
De Blasio outlined his strategy in a series of tweets Wednesday, starting:
"We are planning to reopen @NYCSchools this fall while putting health and safety FIRST.
"75% of families want to send their kids back to school in the fall. Our job is to make it safe and make it work for every family.
"We won't let you down."
"Through a mix of in-school and at-home learning we can make more space in every classroom and building. That means most kids coming to school 2 days a week.
"It's a first for NYC public schools, but it's the only way to bring kids back safely."
"What we WON'T do is ignore the science and recklessly charge ahead like our president.
"We will do it the right way. We will keep everyone safe."
While de Blasio's position is a stated rejection of President Trump, who asked Democratic leaders to not "politicize" American education, it is also a rejection of The American Academy of Pediatrics:
"The importance of in-person learning is well-documented. The AAP strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with the goal of having students physically present in school."
While Trump cannot dictate the actions of the New York City Public Schools, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo can overrule the mayor of the state's largest city.
"On July 31, local school districts will submit their plans on how they would reopen," Cuomo told a news briefing. "Aug. 1-7, the state will announce the decision on whether or not those schools reopen."
Cuomo, a Democrat who has frequently sparred with the president on the response to the coronavirus pandemic, stressed any decision regarding schools was up to the states, after Trump threatened to cut off funding to schools that do not open in the fall.
"We will open the schools if it is safe to open the school," Cuomo said. "Just to be clear, the federal government has no legal authority when it comes to schooling."
Cuomo also took a swipe at Trump for criticizing the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the nation's health protection agency, for what Trump called a "very tough & expensive" plan to reopen schools.
"Oh really, did you know Mr. President better than your health experts how to protect the health of students? Do you really want to disregard children's safety?"
De Blasio's plan is subject to state review and approval.
Information from Reuters was used in this report.
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