Schools in Staten Island orange zone reopen amid high COVID infection rates, new rules

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MIDLAND BEACH, Staten Island (WABC) -- Despite continued high COVID positivity rates in parts of Staten Island, schools in the borough's orange zone reopened Wednesday morning, with stricter safety measures in place.

Those schools include PS 38 on Lincoln Avenue in Midland Beach, whose zip code has one of the highest infection rates in the city, more than 10%.

The re-openings are happening because testing in public schools has shown much better results than that in the general population.

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Starting on Monday, K-5, Pre-K and 3-K students return for in-person learning. District 75 special needs programs will return on Thursday.



Elementary pre- and 3K schools across Staten Island's orange zone reopen for in-person instruction with new guidelines.

Parents have to fill out a consent form for their child to get weekly COVID tests. 25 percent of each school's campus has to be tested.

If their parents don't agree, the kids can't attend in person.

The goal is to have all elementary and special education students - who will return Thursday - back in classrooms across the city full time, with middle and high staying remote.

"I am very hopeful, from what i am seeing, that these extraordinary health and safety measures really now have proven there is a very, very effective way to do this for the duration," said Mayor Bill de Blasio. "And I believe we are going to have our schools open all the way, to
the point we link up with widespread distribution of the vaccine."

The re-openings on Staten Island comes as indoor dining remains shut down across the borough's south shore.

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Governor Andrew Cuomo says if the hospitalization numbers don't dramatically improve, that indoor dining closure will take effect citywide in a matter of days.

One glimmer of hope: on Wednesday about 90 more people were discharged than admitted to hospitals statewide.

Still, the rates overall continue to rise. And some are actually calling for wider shutdowns than those being ordered by the governor.

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