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N.Y. School Closure Plan Is Open To Flexibility Including Extra Testing

School Bus

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said schools in areas of the state with COVID-19 positivity rates over 9% can stay open if they conduct extra testing. And he said it will be up to local districts to shut them down.

State guidelines had required counties with over 9% of tests coming back positive for the virus to close school buildings and switch to remote learning. Long Island has been over 9% for several days.

“My position has always been that if the children are safer in the school than they are on the streets of the community, then children should be in school," Cuomo said.

Rich Haase is with Long Island Teachers, a coalition of over 100 teachers’ unions in the region. He said teachers are frustrated.

“When we hit those thresholds, those actions aren't always … I think districts are really trying to do the best they can. I think it's largely outside forces like in local government and in state government that kind of keep pulling back and kind of moving the end zone if that's a good fair way to put it,” Haase said.

Haase said local districts should be hesitant to keep school buildings remaining at full capacity.

A native Long Islander, J.D. is WSHU's managing editor. He also hosts the climate podcast Higher Ground. J.D. reports for public radio stations across the Northeast, is a journalism educator and proud SPJ member.