'Purely on the numbers': Gov. Cuomo outlines formula that NY will use to determine whether schools reopen

Schools that are in regions in Phase 4 will be permitted to reopen if the daily infection rate remains below 5% or lower using a 14-day average since "unPAUSE" was lifted.

News 12 Staff

Jul 13, 2020, 3:13 PM

Updated 1,463 days ago


Schools in New York can reopen only if the region where the school is located remains in phase four of reopening, and the daily infection rate is at 5% or lower. This is calculated over a two-week average by the first week of August.

If the regional infection rate rises above 9% during a seven-day average, schools will have to close immediately.

The state's Department of Education has also laid out a framework for how schools can reopen. The framework was presented to the Board of Regents, with guidelines that include:
• health checks and screenings
• maximize social distancing
• face coverings
• disinfection measures.

While the state provides guidelines for districts to follow -- including in-person, remote learning or a combination of both -- specific plans will be left for each district to decide. 
Across New York, public schools and districts are looking at different options. In White Plains, three scenarios are under examination.
"One where schools facilities are open completely and of course that's what we're hopeful for but could be unlikely, one that is a hybrid and we're still contemplating and waiting for the region's guidance before we can pin down what a hybrid would look like most effective way to educate children in a hybrid model and of course one for remote learning,"  says Superintendent of White Plains Public Schools Dr. Joseph Ricca. 
Reopening plans must be must be submitted to the state by July 31. The state will then give clearance the first week of August. 
-Cuomo is joined virtually by Keisha Lance Bottoms, the mayor of Atlanta who recently tested positive for coronavirus. As "neighbors to the north," Cuomo said New York is closely watching spiking cases in the South.
-Cuomo says New York will send a team down to Georgia to offer assistance with testing and other COVID-19 response.
-In New York, Cuomo says today's hospitalizations are the lowest since March 18. He says every region in New York is posting "good numbers," including in New York City.
-New York lost 10 lives yesterday, including 2 in nursing homes.
-NY performed 51,000 tests yesterday and the positive rate was just over 1%, Cuomo says.
-He says the continued positive trend with the numbers shows that New York's reopening strategy is working. "It shows that this nation can defeat COVID," Cuomo said.
-On schools, Cuomo says there's a "state formula" to determine if schools reopen; and there are state guidelines to determine how a school will reopen.
-The governor says reopening schools are like reopening the economy. He takes aim at remarks made by President Donald Trump urging the reopening of schools. He says data only will determine if schools reopen, "not emotions." Cuomo says the data will determine if it's safe. "We're not going to use our children as a litmus test, and we're not going to put our children in a place where they're endangered," Gov. Cuomo says.
-The governor outlined the formula that he says will be used to determine if schools can reopen, beginning the first week in August. He says it will be decided "purely on the numbers." He says they will make the decision on the week of Aug. 1-7.
-Schools that are in regions in Phase 4 will be permitted to reopen if the daily infection rate remains below 5% or lower using a 14-day average since "unPAUSE" was lifted. He says between Aug. 1 and the day that school opens, the data will continue to be monitored -- if the infection rate goes over 9%, he says the school will not reopen.
-Cuomo outlined "challenges" that New York faces in keeping the numbers low. He says the first threat is lack of compliance with social distancing and wearing masks. "We have to remain compliant, and the local governments have to do their job" and enforce the rules, Cuomo says. "If we don't do it, the virus will increase -- period."
-The second threat is the virus coming to New York from other places in the country where cases are spiking.
-Gov. Cuomo accused the Trump administration of "committing gross negligence" by "denying" the virus because it's "politically inconvenient" in an election year. He alleges that the spiking cases in other states are because the COVID crisis wasn't properly handled on the federal level.
-Cuomo announces that the state Dept. of Health will issue an emergency order requiring all travelers at New York airports to fill out a form providing local authorities with contact information to help enforce quarantining as cases spike in other states. The form will include information about where they are staying and where they have traveled from.

-Anyone who leaves the airport without filling out the form will face a summons with a $2,000 fine, and could face a hearing that will order them to complete mandatory quarantine, Cuomo warns.
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