by Steve Bittenbender
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday called it “a mistake” the state switched to remote learning in schools at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic more than two years ago.
Hochul, a Democrat running to serve a full term in November, made her remarks during a wide-ranging speech at the University of Albany commemorating Women’s Equality Day. That included her calling on the Department of Labor to study the impact the coronavirus had on women in the workforce.
One of the biggest issues, she said, was mothers having to juggle responsibilities as kids endured distance learning.
“We’re going to peel back every dynamic and let’s look at not just in the workplace but what happened to women when the decisions were made to have all the kids go home and learn remotely,” Hochul said. “Wow. Wow, what a mistake that was. What a mistake that was.
“Women couldn’t go to their jobs. They lost their jobs. Or they thought they’re back at their jobs, and one child in a classroom tests positive, the whole class goes home for a week and a half. It was chaos, nothing short of chaos.”
Hochul served as the lieutenant governor under then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who ordered schools shut down on March 18, 2020. Schools would begin resuming in-person instruction months later, but as the pandemic continued, remote learning continued in a hybrid fashion in an attempt to keep the virus from spreading.
The governor also commented on the decision handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court in June that overturned Roe v. Wade and gave states the right to implement laws banning or restricting abortion access.
Hochul said that the court’s decision has led women from states like Ohio to drive hours to get to New York, where abortion remains legal. In the wake of the ruling, she allocated millions of dollars to allow providers to expand their services and increase security.
She called the Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling “cruel” because she noted that several justices previously said they would support the ruling that had been in effect for nearly half a century.
“We’re now going to have an era of government-mandated pregnancies, stripping away your right to make a decision,” said Hochul. “Or even a child’s right, a 13-year-old, a 12-year-old, who’s a victim of rape or incest becomes impregnated and has to become a parent before they’re even reached the age old enough to drive a car. In what country does that happen? This is not a country I recognize anymore.”
– – –
Steve Bittenbender is a regular contributor at The Center Square.
Photo “Kathy Hochul” by KC Kratt. CC BY-SA 4.0. Background Photo “Virtual Learning” by Andrea Piacquadio.