Cuomo and SUNY bigwig slam city’s school reopening plan 1

SUNY Empire State College President Jim Malatras, seen here at a COVID-related press event earlier this year, criticized New York City's school reopening plan Sunday.

The city’s plan to reopen schools, first announced July 8 and then elaborated upon and submitted to the state last Friday, is no plan at all, according to Gov. Cuomo and one of his aides who heads a State University of New York school.

Mayor de Blasio announced early last month that schools will open with staggered schedules, with certain students attending on some days and other students on other days, and with parents having the option to continue solely with remote learning and not have their children physically in class at all.

And on Friday he and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza announced how schools will handle any cases of COVID-19 discovered among students or teachers. If one is found, the affected classroom will be closed for two weeks, they said, while an entire school may be shuttered if two people who have not had contact with each other test positive.

But Cuomo and his aide, SUNY Empire State College President Jim Malatras, said the city’s plan is not enough.

Cuomo said the city’s proposal was not even submitted on time, though Friday was the deadline for districts across the state to file theirs.

“I am disappointed that New York City didn't have their plan on time because that is one of the main districts where there is a lot of discussion and dialogue, and until there is a plan, people are not going to feel that there is an informed dialogue,” the governor said at a press briefing Saturday. “And to have that whole process, have that discussion, get it done in two weeks is going to be hard, and if parents are not comfortable and confident, I am telling you they are not going to send their child. So you will open a school, you will have partial attendance, which will serve no one.”

Cuomo cited the varying effectiveness of remote learning, especially when comparing wealthier areas and households with poorer ones, and plans for testing students for COVID as among the areas that school districts need to be specific about in their plans.

“The devil is in the details and parents are going to want to hear the details,” he said.

Malatras told reporters on Sunday that the city’s 32-page proposal is more “an outline” than a real plan, according to multiple media reports.

“Other plans that have been submitted are much more detailed from first glance,” Malatras said, according to the New York Post.

“Yonkers school district has 39 schools, 27,000 students and [its plan is] about 80 pages long. The Albany city school district has 10,000 students; that [plan] has about 60 pages, 70 pages worth of details.”

The city has about 1.1 million students.

SUNY ESC has about 10,400, according to U.S. News and World Report’s college database.

The Queens Chronicle has reached out to the Mayor’s Office for a response to the comments of Cuomo and Malatras and will update this story if one is provided.

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