Gov. Cuomo blamed President Trump on Wednesday as he admonished the commander-in-chief for dismissing health experts concerned about coronavirus and calling for schools to reopen this fall.
“The federal government has no authority when it comes to reopening schools,” the governor said during a press briefing in Manhattan.
Trump threatened earlier in the day to withhold federal aid if states don’t reopen schools in September. At a White House event Tuesday, health and education officials argued that keeping students out of school for the fall semester would pose greater health risks than any tied to the coronavirus.
Cuomo said the president has no authority when it comes to education.
“Schools reopening is a state decision, period,” he said. “That is the law and that is the way we’re going to proceed. It’s not up to the President of the United States. There is something called the Constitution that guides government power and there’s a series of laws based on that Constitution and the President does not have that authority to open schools.”
Cuomo said school districts must present plans for reopening the end of the month and the state will announce decision on a case-by-case basis in early August.
Earlier in the day, Mayor de Blasio and city schools chancellor Richard Carranza unveiled their “Blended Learning” plan for the city’s 1.1 million public school students.
De Blasio said he believes the plan will preserve “health and safety while maintaining an understanding that the best way to educate our kids is in the classroom.”
“We’re going to move forward according to the data, according to the state of New York,” he added, but admitted that the situation could change along the way.
The plan would include limiting classrooms to nine to 12 students and staggering how many days kids are in school.
Meanwhile, the governor said that beginning Friday, malls in phase four regions can reopen if they have enhanced HVAC filtration systems and other safety measures in place.
Cuomo announced there were 97 COVID-19 patients intubated statewide, the lowest number reported in months. He also said there were 11 coronavirus-related deaths in the state on Tuesday.
“The good news is the number of hospitalizations is 841,” Gov. Cuomo said. “Number of intubations is 97; first time it’s been under 100 and it’s the first time it’s been this low since March 16.”
While other states continue to report skyrocketing infection rates, Cuomo said of some 57,000 virus tests conducted in the state, 1.2% came back positive.
“As I’ve said every day for the past 130 days, we’re making progress because we’re acting smart and we have to continue to act smart,” he said.
Cuomo reiterated that the increasing cases across the country remain a threat to New York, noting that airlines have agreed to hand out forms to passengers to help the state track out of towners subject to a two-week quarantine if coming from one of 19 states with high COVID-19 numbers.
“Bad news is everything around us frankly,” the governor said. “Tale of two cities, we have a tale of two different kinds of states.”
He also ripped the Trump administration for not taking the pandemic seriously and attributing high infection rates to increased testing.
“The federal government still insists on perpetuating the myth, and they keep saying the cases are going up because we are testing more. That makes no sense whatsoever,” he said. “The American people are smart you’re not going to fool them, you’re not going to con them.”
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