Mayor Bill de Blasio stood his ground late Saturday on keeping schools closed until the fall, saying that the decision is the right move — despite a lecture earlier in the day from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who said Hizzoner lacks the authority to do so.
After consulting with Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza, de Blasio said they decided to extend the systemwide shutdown until September. The mayor announced the plan early Saturday morning.
“We are far from over with fighting the coronavirus,” de Blasio told the Rev. Al Sharpton on MSNBC’s “PoliticsNation.” “It was crystal clear the right thing to do was focus on distance learning.
“If we really pull together, we can get kids a quality education, we can make sure our seniors can still graduate,” the mayor said.
About two hours after de Blasio’s initial morning announcement, Cuomo said that the power to open or close the schools rests with the governor, and that he hasn’t made a decision on how long they will remain shuttered.
Sharpton pressed de Blasio about working with Cuomo to resolve their latest spat, and even offered to mediate between the two executives if necessary.
“I think we’re always going to work things through in the common interest of our people,” de Blasio responded.
“I’ll always work with the state of New York, I’ll always work with the governor,” the mayor said.
But he said his first responsibility “isn’t to another elected official,” but to the students, parents and educators in the city’s public school system.
De Blasio continued: “I have to do what I think is right to stop the coronavirus from holding the city in its grip to make sure we get out of this horrible moment in our city’s history and move forward.”