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New York Schools to Remain Closed

Fri, 03/27/2020 - 12:49
Schools across the state will remain shut in an effort to contain the coronavirus spread.
Christine Sampson

In a widely anticipated move, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has extended mandatory school closures across New York State by two weeks. 

The revised order means that all schools in New York State must remain shut at least until April 15 in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Governor Cuomo had earlier waived a state requirement that schools must be in session for a minimum of 180 days each year, and last week canceled the annual state tests in English and math for students in grades three through eight. 

"I believe the schools should remain closed. I don't do this joyfully," Governor Cuomo said Friday, ". . . but it only makes sense to keep the schools closed. They have to continue the programs they are doing, child care, meals, distance learning." 

Richard Burns, the East Hampton School District superintendent, said he had expected the governor's announcement. "The curve is still going up for three weeks. I find it very hard to imagine that we're going to open up," he said.

"Hopefully, we get some days in. He is doing it in two-week increments, but we're prepared to go through the year."

Jack Perna, the Montauk School superintendent, said, "Suffolk County was expecting it. And if he didn't do that, I think Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties would have done it anyway as a group."

"It's too soon to go back," Mr. Perna said. "They don't want you to be in groups and then you're going to give me 20 little people who spread things like wildfire and put them all in one room? I'm glad we're all going to be closed. It keeps them safe."

The East Hampton School District distributed 1,000 meals on Friday, along with 117 Chromebooks for students who did not have computers. Distance learning officially starts March 31 for East Hampton, Mr. Burns said. 

"I have to compliment the teachers and teaching assistants," he said. "They've been working hard to get this done. . . . Some of the things they're doing are really creative and fascinating."

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