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Cuomo reaches deal to reopen schools in coronavirus hot spots, slams White House vaccine plan

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 10/30/2020 Denis Slattery

ALBANY — Gov. Cuomo announced a deal Friday to reopen N.Y. schools in areas experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases while slamming the Trump administration’s vaccine plans.

The governor said schools shuttered for in-person learning as the state reimposed strict restrictions in red and orange zones will be allowed to welcome kids back to classrooms as soon as Monday as long as they test all students and faculty.

“Basic rule is, before you open a school, all the people who go into the school, students or teachers, will be tested,” Cuomo said during an afternoon call with reporters. “And only those who test negative are allowed to go back into the school.”

The announcement comes two weeks after Cuomo threatened to withhold state funding from schools that refused to comply with shutdown orders as the state targeted so-called “micro cluster” areas with an uptick in cases.

a street with cars parked on the side of a road: A man walks past Public School 99 Monday, Oct. 5, in the Kew Gardens neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York. © Provided by New York Daily News A man walks past Public School 99 Monday, Oct. 5, in the Kew Gardens neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York.

A man walks past Public School 99 Monday, Oct. 5, in the Kew Gardens neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York. (Frank Franklin II/)

Several yeshivas in the heavily Orthodox Jewish neighborhood of Borough Park defied the state’s COVID-19 mandates earlier this month as members of the community protested the governor’s orders.

Much of south Brooklyn and the neighborhoods surrounding Borough Park remains under “red zone” restrictions, meaning school and non-essential businesses are currently closed. There are also strict capacity limits on houses of worship and gatherings.


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The new rules allow schools in red zones to open as long as all students and staff are tested, which the governor said will help the state in its tracing efforts. In subsequent weeks, at least 25% of staff and students will need to be tested.

Other parts of Brooklyn and some neighborhoods in Queens are still considered "yellow” zones, where schools must conduct coronavirus tests for 20% of employees and students each week.

Andrew Cuomo wearing a suit and tie: New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo © Provided by New York Daily News New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Cuomo said he was briefed Friday by the White House coronavirus task force about the Trump administration’s vaccination plan, which the governor called “deeply flawed.”

President Trump’s plan to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine will rely on private-sector pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens and leave little funding for states, according to the governor.

“It could take one year to vaccinate the population using only a private-sector network,” Cuomo said. "This country can’t afford to take one year to do vaccinations.”

As states across the U.S. continue to see stunningly high infection rates, the governor touted New York’s low positivity rate of 1.5%, the third-lowest in the nation.

The number of people hospitalized due to the virus remains 1,085, unchanged from a day earlier.

New York also reported another 12 COVID-19 deaths on Thursday, bringing the statewide total to 25,804.

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