Schools Get New Guidelines on Covid-19 Testing Rates

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Monday that counties with positivity rates of 9 percent or higher could  keep their schools open if in-school testing shows the rate is below the community average.

“If their schools are below the level of positivity in the community, they can keep schools open. It’s up to the local school district to make that decision,” Cuomo said at his daily press briefing. “My position has always been, if the children are safer in the school than they are on the streets of the community, then children should be in schools.”

“My opinion, leave the schools open, but that’s up to the local school district to decide,”  he said.

The South Huntington district, which began voluntary tests hundreds of students, families and staffer this weekend, found a rough 6 percent positivity rate for the general community and lower rates for staffers and students, of the nearly 900 tested the first two days.

Suffolk County reported a positivity rate of 11.3 percent on Monday.

New York State United Teachers President Andy Pallotta responded Monday, saying, “Our number one priority continues to be the health and safety of students and educators, and that means it’s important to err on the side of caution. Testing data is important, but we believe school districts must still make decisions about in-person and remote instruction in consultation with parents and educators. The entire school community must have the confidence in a district’s plan to stay open, reopen or expand its in-person offerings as infection rates rise in the surrounding community and regions surpass a 9 percent infection rate. Where there isn’t confidence, remote education is the only viable option.”

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