It's crucial that parents and teachers feel comfortable for schools in New York to open successfully this fall, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday.
Local districts were required to submit their reopening plans to the state Friday, and initial decisions on the plans were expected from New York officials this week. But the Democratic governor stressed Sunday that there needs to be a "full conversation" that answers parents' questions about reopening safely.
"If the parents don't feel comfortable, they're not going to send their children," Cuomo told reporters during a telephone briefing. "And we'll accomplish nothing if we open the schools but a significant number of parents decide to keep their children home."
Similarly, Cuomo said "no one wants to force teachers against their will to work."
Cuomo highlighted the need for better remote learning and proper COVID-19 testing capacity. He stressed the need for fast turnaround times for results, which has been a problem around the country.
New York has contained the virus recently even as it surges in other parts of the country. The state recorded three new deaths on Saturday and 556 people hospitalized, a decrease of 25 patients from the previous day.
Officials in New York have recently stepped up enforcement on bars and restaurants flouting pandemic rules. On Sunday, the New York City Sheriff's department said in a tweet it intercepted a party boat at a Manhattan pier for an "illegal party" with social distancing violations and arrested the owners and captain.
Calls were made to the sheriff's department seeking more information and to the boat's owner for comment.