It’s perfectly reasonable for Gov. Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio to aim to rein in a COVID-19 surge in several city hotspots. But their plans so far don’t make much sense — unless they intend merely to provide maximum protection for teachers’-union members. Kids and parents clearly lose out.
On Monday, the gov suspended in-person classes in nine city ZIP codes, calling blanket closures necessary because some schools hadn’t done enough testing, and “better safe than sorry.”
By that reasoning, he might as well close the whole state. You never know, right?
Fact is, most schools have had few cases of COVID, if any. Much of the uptick has involved the Orthodox Jewish community, yet Cuomo’s closures aren’t limited to troubled yeshivas; they also include public and even Catholic schools as well.
Cuomo “says he is governed by the facts,” notes the state Catholic Conference’s Dennis Poust, yet “we have not had any significant COVID issues” in Catholic schools.
“We’re following all the guidelines,” sighs John O’Brien, principal of the Good Shepherd Academy in Brooklyn. “Nobody’s been sick. And still we have to close.”
“I feel my children are being penalized,” fumes one parent. It’s tragic — even more so because Catholic schools have invested heavily to allow kids to return safely.
Cuomo’s logic is badly inconsistent: On Monday, he nixed de Blasio’s shutdown of non-essential businesses, in part because “ZIP codes can include communities that have a low infection rate.” Schools, too, sir.
The next day he rolled out his own plan for shuttering “non-essential” businesses — even as he says the real issue is “mass gatherings” (and the economy is on life-support).
Cuomo also talks about the lack of enforcement of existing rules and says he’ll send in state task forces to force compliance. Will that be as uneven and arbitrary as the State Liquor Authority’s ham-handed work? How many public workers are remotely prepared to handle the challenges of ethnic communities? We fear this is just another bid to big-foot de Blasio.
All in all, the governor seems more intent on looking decisive than on getting results.
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