Things got a little heated when reporters pressed New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) on whether the state would require schools to close due to the rise in coronavirus cases, or if the decision would be left to the school districts.
During a press conference on Wednesday, Cuomo was asked if he was going to require New York City schools to close instead of allowing city officials to make the decision.
The reporter claimed that Cuomo previously said the decision on whether or not to close schools would be up to New York City officials.
Cuomo responded, “First of all, let’s try not to be obnoxious and offensive in your tone. Because you’re 100% wrong.”
He went on to say that rules for the school closings due to COVID-19 cases have been in effect for more than a month. And he noted that two weeks ago, the state required New York City schools to close because the test positivity rate in neighborhoods hit 3%.
He continued, “If you were paying attention, you would have known we closed the schools in New York City two weeks ago. Remember when we did an Orange Zone and a Red Zone in Brooklyn and Queens? And we closed the schools. Don’t you remember that?”
He continued as he raised his voice, “So what are you talking about? What are you talking about? ‘You’re now going to override.’ We did it already! That’s the law! An Orange Zone and a Red Zone. Follow the facts!”
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He explained school districts can choose when they want to close their schools based on the percentage of coronavirus tests that come back positive in that community.
But, he added that the state’s designation for a micro-cluster, which requires schools to close if the test positivity rate hits 3%, would over-rule the school district’s decision and force the schools to close for four days.
After four days, schools can re-open if they ramp up testing for the coronavirus.
The reporter went on to say that parents are confused about the law regarding school closures. However, Cuomo shot back, “They’re not confused. You’re confused. Read the law, and you won’t be confused.”
While Cuomo appeared to say New York City’s public schools would be open, city officials announced the public school system will close on Thursday after the test-positivity in the city hit 3%.