New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday that schools will only reopen if they meet scientific criteria that show the coronavirus is under control in their region, including a daily infection rate of below 5% over a 14-day average. "We're not going to use our children as guinea pigs," he added.

The big picture: Cuomo's insistence that New York will rely on data to decide whether to reopen schools comes as President Trump and his administration continue an aggressive push to get kids back in the classroom as part of their efforts to juice the economy.

  • Trump attacked the CDC's guidelines on reopening schools safely last week as "very tough and expensive," while Education Secretary Betsy DeVos stressed on Sunday that the guidelines are "flexible" and only meant to be recommendations.
  • DeVos also doubled down on threats to withhold federal funding from schools that choose not to reopen, arguing that the money should be redirected to families who can use it to find another option for their children.

What Cuomo is saying:

  • "On schools, what does [Trump] say? 'Reopen the schools. Just open them up, don't worry.' He was wrong on the economic reopening. He's wrong on the schools reopening."
  • "Everybody wants to reopen the schools. ... It's not, do we reopen or not? You reopen if it is safe to reopen. How do you know if it's safe? You look at the data."
  • "If you have the virus under control, reopen. If you don't have the virus under control, then you can’t reopen. We're not gonna use our children as a litmus test and we're not going to put our children in a place where their health is endangered. It's that simple."

Details: Cuomo that schools can only begin in-person learning once the region has entered "Phase 4" of its reopening plan.

  • Decisions on which districts will be allowed to reopen will be made during the first week in August.
  • If a region's infection rate is above 9% on a seven-day average after that first week, Cuomo said reopenings will be paused.

Go deeper: Pelosi says Trump is "messing with the health of our children" with push to open schools

Go deeper

Jul 24, 2020 - Health

CDC issues guidelines preparing for schools to reopen

Photo: Octavio Jones/Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released guidelines on Thursday, stressing the "importance of reopening America's schools this fall," saying K-12 schools are "an important part of the infrastructure of communities and play a critical role in supporting the whole child."

Why it matters: The reopening of schools has become a major debate in the U.S. as both parents and government officials weigh the pros and cons. The role that children play in spreading the novel coronavirus is still not known, but the CDC notes that death rates among school-aged children are much lower than among adults.

Jul 23, 2020 - Health

Birx: CDC to issue school reopening advice this week

White House coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx during a July 8 briefing at the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, DC. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

White House coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx told Fox News Wednesday the CDC will put out additional recommendations this week on reopening schools.

Why it matters: The role children play in spreading the novel coronavirus is still not known. Birx said U.S. officials had launched a study of all age groups that she hoped would address this.

Jul 27, 2020 - Health

Youth COVID-19 hospitalizations in Florida surge 23%

A health care worker directs a person to use a nasal swab for a self administered test, Miami, Florida, July 23. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Coronavirus cases in youths have greatly increased in Florida, with total infections up 34% and hospitalizations up 23% between July 16 and 24, according to the Florida Department of Health.

The big picture: The increase from 23,170 confirmed COVID-19 cases in youths to 31,150 in just eight days comes as Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and the Trump administration continue to aggressively push for schools to resume in-person classes in August.