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New York outlines school return guidelines

NEW YORK (AP)--New York parents and educators got some long-awaited answers to their back-to-school questions Monday, with Gov. Andrew Cuomo saying schools will be allowed to open in areas where the coronavirus is under control and education officials outlining a raft of guidance for whether that happens in-person, remotely or a combination of both.
Each of the state's 700 school districts has until the end of this month to detail school-by-school reopening plans.
Cuomo said they will be able to move forward with them in regions that are both in phase four of the state's overall reopening and have seen average daily infection rates of 5 percent or less for two weeks.
"Common sense and intelligence can still determine what we do even in this crazy environment," Cuomo said during a briefing. "We're not going to use our children as guinea pigs."
President Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy Devos have launched an effort to pressure officials to fully reopen schools in the fall, threatening last week to hold back federal money from districts that don't bring their students back.
"He was wrong on the economic reopening. He's wrong on the schools' reopening," Cuomo said. "Everybody wants to reopen the schools. I want to reopen the schools. Everybody wants to reopen the schools. It's not do we reopen or not. You reopen if it is safe to reopen."
Students and teachers returning to buildings will be screened for illness, wear masks or face shields and keep six feet of distance when possible. Mandatory fire drills and lockdown drills will continue with social distancing and districts may have to stagger start times, install partitions or change hallway traffic patterns to reduce congestion.
Cuomo said districts will learn the first week of August whether they can reopen for the fall, but a subsequent spike that sends the infection rate past 9% would halt the plans.

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