New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Friday gave a green light for schools across the state including New York City to reopen in the fall – unlike Los Angeles, the nation’s second largest school district, where there’s no reopening date set and classes will start online.
New York state “will continue to monitor the infection rate leading up to the first day of school,” he cautioned. But, “It is just great news,” Cuomo said at his daily press briefing. “We are probably in the best situation in the country right now.”
The state infection rate stood at 1% on Friday with 5 deaths. Schools – public and private — would close if the infection level rises to 9% or greater. Guidelines for safe reopening include face masks when social distancing is not possible, expanded cleaning of classrooms, COVID-19 screenings and contact tracing.
He said the announcement still requires discussion between individual school districts and with teachers. “The teachers have to agree to go back [and] are raising many questions from hot-spot zip codes to contact tracing to testing. They have to be comfortable. You don’t want to get into a legal battle about that.”
Cases in California have been surging over the past month, with Los Angeles County an epicenter. In July, California governor Gavin Newsom said schools in the state’s 32 hardest hit counties weren’t likely to reopen. In LA, the opening date for the new school year would have been Aug. 18, but Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner said distance learning would remain in place as fall approached.
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