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NY state formula determines which school districts can reopen; strict guidelines unveiled

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Posted at 12:39 PM, Jul 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-10 13:41:05-04

NEW YORK — Whether or not schools in New York will be given the green light to reopen will be determined by data, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced guidelines on Monday for New York schools to reopen for the fall semester amid the coronavirus pandemic.

There is a state formula to determine whether or not schools will reopen. If schools reopen, guidelines will determine how districts reopen, the governor said.

Schools reopen if the region is in Phase 4 of reopening and if the daily infection rate remains below 5% or lower using a 14-day average since "unPAUSE" was lifted, according to Cuomo.

The determination will be made in the first week of August, he added.

The governor also said schools will close if the regional infection rate is greater than 9% using a seven-day average after August 1.

"It's purely on the numbers," he said. "If you don't have the virus under control, then you can't reopen," Cuomo said. "We're not going to use our children as guinea pigs."

The health department's guidelines include masks and PPE whenever students or staff cannot maintain social distancing, or six feet of separation. It also included guidelines on cleaning, screening, tracing, transportation and food service.

The Department of Education said there will be no "one size fits all" model for reopening schools as the state is large and diverse.

The upcoming academic year will be New York's time to "recover, rebuild and renew" the spirit of the state's schools, according to the NYS Education Department.

For a full list of guidelines, see below or click here.

With the guidelines, school districts must create individual reopening plans and share them with the state by the end of July, Cuomo has said.