This is our daily update following the reopening of NYC schools for Thursday, October 15th, 2020.
Here's the latest:
- Parents: NYC Teacher Shortage Hurts Special Ed Students The Most
- Advocates Call For Kinder Disciplinary Policies For Students During Pandemic Schooling
- Do you have a tip or story to share about schools reopening in NYC? Send us an email at email@example.com (we can keep you anonymous)
Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order Wednesday to withhold state funding for any public or private school or school district that violates state restrictions during the pandemic -- including continuing to hold classes in defiance of shutdown orders.
The order is the latest escalation in Cuomo's attempt to force New Yorkers to comply with restrictions intended to slow the spread of COVID-19, which has accelerated in parts of New York State including Brooklyn and Queens.
Last week, Cuomo ordered about 300 public and private schools in the city in "red" and "orange" zones with the highest rates of COVID-19 to switch to all-remote learning for at least 14 days.
"For the schools that have been identified as violating the closure order, they will be served today with a notice mandating they close," Cuomo said during a call with reporters Wednesday. "We’re withholding funding until the matter is resolved to our satisfaction."
In some cases, the governor’s ultimatum appeared to be working. Parents at one yeshiva were informed early Thursday that school was cancelled “due to unforeseen circumstances.” Another email from Rabbi Mordechai Levin at the Bais Yaakov Academy in Midwood stated that the school would cease “offering preschool classes as ‘child care’” following the “comments and threats” from Cuomo.
But other schools still appeared to be skirting the guidelines. One parent in Borough Park told Gothamist that his son’s yeshivas was still operating on Thursday, albeit in a different building in the neighborhood.
Asked about Cuomo's move to cut funding to private schools if enforcement was not ramped up, Mayor Bill de Blasio defended the city's enforcement and outreach to the city's red zones. "Here at local level where the rubber hits the road, there is an extraordinary effort going on," de Blasio said, referring to the Cuomo's order on state funding cuts as "bluster."
The mayor said NYC issued 25 summonses for violations of COVID-19 restrictions on Wednesday, after conducting 1,700 inspections at sites like schools or houses of worship. Over the past two weeks, more than 18,000 inspections resulted in 288 summonses. Eleven of those were for $15,000.
"The last thing that should happen is to take away resources from a place that is suffering so much," de Blasio added. "In the end, and I think the legislature will agree, the focus should be on solving the problems, stopping the second wave, addressing the recovery of the city."