Coronavirus News: Gov. Cuomo says state makes school decisions once positivity rate is over 3%

Coronavirus Update for New York

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Sunday, November 22, 2020
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Governor Andrew Cuomo gave an update on school decisions and levels of action once an area hits a certain positivity rate.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- As long as the seven-day average is lower than 3%, Gov. Andrew Cuomo says schools in New York may reopen.

In New York City, public schools have been shut down due to the city reporting a positivity rate above 3% -- although according to the state's metrics, schools would still be open.

Cuomo acknowledged the difference between the way NYC and state calculate positivity is "confusing," but added it is "also irrelevant."

He also gave local governments the thumbs up to make school decisions as long as the positivity rate is below 3%.

"Do whatever you want to do," he said. "Remote, hybrid, whatever your parents agree to, you can do."

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However, he said once the citywide positivity surpasses 3% under the state's calculations, the state restrictions will take over.

"When we hit the 3%, the state law is going to govern, period," the governor said. "You have 700 school districts, they are all doing different things. Some are open, some are closed. If they hit 3% I thought that was a fair compromise because they honored local control. When it became a public health issue, then the state law governors."

Cuomo said he took action in Brooklyn and Queens two weeks ago when those boroughs entered a red zone.

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"It hit 3%, the schools closed," he said. "The school could reopen. Many of the schools reopened. Some didn't, some did, but you can reopen the school because the school is safer than the local community. 3% in the community, the school is under a half a percent. Why would you want the child to run around in a 3% community, not be educated? Have them go to the school where the infection rate is under .5%."

Cuomo also delved deeper into explaining the actions that will be taken if areas enter a yellow, orange or red zone during the coronavirus pandemic.

He released the updated levels of actions for the state:

YELLOW ZONE RULES IF POSITIVITY RATE IS 2.5%

- Houses of Worship: 50% capacity

- Mass gatherings: 25 people maximum

- Businesses: Open

- Dining: Indoor/Outdoor, 4-person max per table

- Schools: Open, mandatory 20% testing

ORANGE ZONE RULES IF POSITIVITY RATE IS 3.0%

- Houses of Worship: 33% capacity, 25 people maximum

- Mass gatherings: 10 people maximum, indoor and outdoor

- Businesses: Closing high-risk non-essential businesses such as gyms and personal care

- Dining: Outdoor dining only, 4-person maximum per table

- Schools: Remote with "test out" to open

RED ZONE RULES IF POSITIVITY RATE IS 3.0%

- Houses of Worship: 25% capacity, 10 people maximum

- Mass gatherings: Prohibited

- Businesses: Essential only

- Dining: Takeout/delivery only

- Schools: Remote with "test out" to open

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