New York Officials Watching For COVID Outbreaks In Schools

Sep 15, 2020

Monday was the first day back at school for many of New York’s kindergarten through 12th grade students, though some students will learn remotely. Health officials say they will monitor whether the in-person classes cause any outbreaks of COVID-19.

The New York State Health Department has set up a dashboard for parents who want to see whether anyone in their child’s school district has tested positive for the coronavirus. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the new site a few days ago.

“If there’s a problem, we will see the problem,” the governor said on September 10.

So far, the site does not contain data from some of the state’s over 700 school districts. The site says that they have not yet reported anything to the health department.

The reopening of colleges and universities over the past few weeks has led to outbreaks of the virus, and at least one campus, the State University of New York at Oneonta, has had to close down for the semester, while another, SUNY Oswego, has canceled sports and activates of fraternities and sororities and temporarily ended in person dining as COVID-19 positive cases have grown.

Cuomo says that if it’s possible to conduct at least partial in person classes, then he believes that schools should continue to do so, but he says he’ll recommend changing those plans if there are multiple outbreaks.

“If we have to do something different, we will do something different,” Cuomo said.

Sunday marked the 38th day in a row that the rate of COVID-19 in the state is below 1 percent. But there were 583 new cases reported, and four people died of the virus.