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Cuomo says schools can open statewide with COVID-19 infection rate low

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo seen here in a late June coronavirus briefing. (Photo credit: Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of the Governor, via Cuomo’s flickr page)

ALBANY, N.Y. — K-12 schools across the state will be allowed to reopen this fall for in-person instruction, following a number of safety protocols, including masking and social distancing, Gov, Andrew Cuomo announced Friday.

Each New York region’s coronavirus-infection rate is below the threshold necessary by the state’s standards to reopen schools, which have been shut since mid-March, the governor said in a conference call with reporters.

The New York State Department of Health will review submitted reopening plans from school districts and notify districts of their status on Monday. Out of 749 school districts across the state, 127 have not yet submitted plans to the state Health Department, and another 50 are “incomplete or deficient.” 

The determination of how individual districts reopen — in-person versus a hybrid model — will be made by local school districts under “strict” state Health Department guidelines, the state said.

Of the 70,170 test results reported to New York State yesterday, 714, or 1 percent, were positive. Each region’s percentage of positive test results reported over the last three days is in this chart provided by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office.

Cuomo also announced that school districts must post their remote-learning plan online, as well as their plan for testing and tracing students and teachers. Schools must also have three to five public meetings prior to Aug. 21 with parents — who will be allowed to participate remotely — as well as one meeting with teachers to go through their reopening plan.

“Parents and teachers must feel safe and secure in each school district’s plan to return to school, and those plans must adhere to the Department of Health’s guidance. To ensure that is the case, New York’s family’s must be fully informed and part of the conversation. And so, over the next several weeks, school districts must engage: Talking to parents and teachers and getting all parties on board,” the governor said.

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