Cuomo says 'no decision' after NYC mayor declares schools closed for rest of academic year

New York City Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioOcasio-Cortez defends attendance of Met Gala amid GOP uproar Bidens, former presidents mark 9/11 anniversary Macy's to resume Thanksgiving Day Parade with masks, vaccines MORE (D) declared Saturday that the nation's largest school system would remain closed for the rest of the academic year, while Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoGovernors brace for 2022 after year in pandemic spotlight Tucker Carlson says he lies when 'I'm really cornered or something' Judge blocks NY state vaccine mandate for medical workers MORE (D) later pushed back, insisting that officials have not yet decided on when to reopen schools.

"After very careful consideration, I announce today that New York City public schools will remain closed for the remainder of this school year," de Blasio said at a public health conference Saturday, characterizing the step as a "public health decision."

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The mayor called the move "the right thing to do," saying it was meant to "help us save lives." 

However, Cuomo said during his own press conference later Saturday that "there has been no decision" on how much longer to keep schools closed.

He also suggested that the mayor did not have the authority to make a unilateral declaration.

"That's his opinion, but he didn't close them, and he can't open them," Cuomo said Saturday afternoon.

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The governor said he understands the mayor's position on wanting to close schools until June but added that no decision has been finalized.

"We may do that, but we're going to do it in a coordinated sense with the other localities," he said.

Cuomo added that "it makes no sense" for one school system to make a decision that is not coordinated with other localities.

De Blasio had announced the move on Saturday morning, seeking to extend a closure that took effect last month. Schools in the city have been slated to remain closed until at least April 20.

"Having to tell you that we cannot bring our schools back for the remainder of this school year is painful," de Blasio said Saturday.

He maintained that such a closure would aid in guaranteeing adherence to social distancing and shelter-in-place strategies, which aim to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

"All of the focused strategies that are finally beginning to bear fruit need the time to continue to be effective," de Blasio said.

He also lamented that the city would have to postpone efforts to improve its school system, saying it wanted to tackle inequalities and offer better opportunities for less fortunate students.

More than 7,800 people have died from the coronavirus in New York, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

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On Friday, the state reported nearly 162,000 confirmed cases of the virus, more than any country in the world.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield said Thursday evening that the U.S. is approaching the peak of the outbreak, adding that "aggressive social distancing" measures have lowered the expected mortality rate.

Updated: 12:59 p.m.