Hochul promises 10M at-home tests, Mount Vernon school district goes fully remote

Coronavirus Update for New York

ByEyewitness News via WABC logo
Tuesday, December 21, 2021
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Dave Evans has the latest on the omicron surge in New York state and the city.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- All schools in Mount Vernon will move to fully virtual learning starting on Wednesday as omicron cases fuel a COVID spike across New York state.

Schools in the district will be closed to in-person learning until January 18.

The superintendent made the decision Monday in response to surging COVID cases.

ALSO READ | NYC omicron surge to last 'a matter of weeks,' mayor says

The district is requiring testing for staff and students when they return next month and will implement weekly testing at that time.

Meantime, Governor Kathy Hochul announced a new strategy to combat this COVID winter surge, which also provides testing help to schools and includes sending out 10 million free at-home tests.

Two million tests will go to schools, and tests will also be sent to state-run vaccination sites.

The governor will also make $65 million available to counties to help with vaccine and booster distribution along with enforcing vaccine or mask mandates.

RELATED: What are the symptoms of the COVID omicron variant?

For the fourth consecutive day, New York State saw a record level of positive COVID cases -- 23,391, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Monday.

WATCH | Dr. Zuckerman answers viewer questions on COVID, omicron variant:

Despite the new record, the governor vowed that schools will stay open.

"We are keeping our schools open, let me repeat that, we are keeping our schools open," Hochul said. "Because we are dealing with a very different variant at this time, we believe that it is critically important that our children not end up in the same situation they were for so many months when they were so displaced from their normal environment ... we are in a different environment, different circumstance."

Hochul said part of her administration's winter surge plan is committing to keeping schools open with Test to Stay protocols that allow unvaccinated exposed students to be tested and stay in school if they are negative.

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