Cuomo to reopen schools in coronavirus hotspots

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NEW YORK – Governor Andrew Cuomo on Friday announced an agreement to reopen schools in coronavirus hot spots.The plan allows students and faculty who have tested negative for the virus to return to class in the red and orange zones.

“All students, all teachers will know that everyone has been tested and that they are all negative,” Cuomo said.

South Brooklyn is the only part of the city that remains strictly closed after the state eased restrictions in other areas of Brooklyn and Queens last week.

According to the plan, all students and faculty will need to be tested before they are allowed to return. Schools will then have to randomly test 25% of their population on a weekly basis. If more than nine positive tests return to a smaller school, the building will have to close again, according to the Cuomo administration. In large schools, a positivity rate greater than 2% will trigger a return to distance learning.

The plan applies to public, private and religious schools. The city’s education ministry said 45 of its school sites were still closed due to the lockdown.

The strongly Orthodox Jewish quarter of Borough Park erupted in protests when restrictions were first enforced earlier this month. In some cases, the yeshivas reportedly defied the closure orders and remained open.

On Monday, more than 100 schools were allowed to reopen when the governor reclassified neighborhoods where coronavirus cases were improving to yellow areas. In these areas, schools must perform coronavirus tests for 20% of employees and students every week.

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