Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday approved the reopening of city schools in COVID-19 hotspots if they implement new testing safeguards.
Schools in the state’s red zones were ordered closed four weeks ago to protect against flareups while those in yellow regions had to increase testing.
Cuomo said that the schools will have to screen teachers and students prior to resuming classroom activity and conduct weekly screenings of 25 percent of students after that.
“Public schools want to be open in the red and the orange zones, and we’ve been working with them to try to find ways to keep people safe but allow children to go to school,” he said. “We have an agreement with them on a protocol that I think keeps people safe and allows children to be educated.”
Schools will close if they have nine or more positive cases and students will transition to remote learning, Cuomo said on a conference call.
He added that city school buildings will also shutter if a zone has a rolling seven-day average of 2 percent.
The closure order earlier this month shut down about 120 schools across the city.
The sudden lockups sparked resistance from many parents — especially at buildings with minimal to no confirmed cases of coronavirus.
The Department of Education’s independent testing process — which screens 10 to 20 percent of school populations at every building each month — has shown minimal infection rates thus far.
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