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Cuomo: Data will drive school reopenings; Schools need to submit plans

Posted 13 July 2020 at 9:27 pm

All regions currently meet threshold for starting school in terms of low rate of positive Covid-19 tests

Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Office

Each region’s percentage of positive tests are currently well below the 5 percent threshold for schools to reopen.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced new, data-driven guidance for reopening schools in New York State. Schools in a region can reopen if that region is in Phase 4 of reopening and if its daily infection rate remains below 5 percent or lower using a 14-day average since unPAUSE was lifted.

Schools will close if the regional infection rate rises above 9 percent, using a 7-day average, after August 1. New York State will make the formula determination during the week of August 1 to 7.

“Everybody wants to reopen schools, but you only reopen if it’s safe to reopen, and that’s determined by the data,” Cuomo said. “You don’t hold your finger up and feel the wind, you don’t have an inspiration, you don’t have a dream, you don’t have an emotion – look at the data. We test more and we have more data than any state. If you have the virus under control, reopen. If you don’t have the virus under control, then you can’t reopen.”

New York State, the Reimagine Education Advisory Council and the Department of Health released finalized guidance and guiding principles for reopening schools today, which are available by clicking here.

The DOH and Governor’s Reimagine Council are working closely with the Department of Education as it releases education guidance. Plans to reopen schools are due on July 31.

Topics addressed by state guidance include:

  • Masks/PPE
  • Social Distancing
  • Cohort Structures
  • Restructuring Space to Maximize In-Class Instruction
  • Transportation
  • Food Service
  • Aftercare and Extracurriculars
  • Screening
  • Tracing
  • Cleaning and Disinfecting

“We’re not going to use our children as the litmus test and we’re not going to going to put our children in a place where their health is endangered,” Cuomo said. “It’s that simple. Common sense and intelligence can still determine what we do, even in this crazy environment. We’re not going to use our children as guinea pigs. What I say to the experts is very simple. I’m making the determination as to whether or not I would send my daughter to school. If it’s safe, I’ll send her. If it’s not safe, I’m not going to send her. And you can determine that by science.”