Gov. Cuomo pushes back on plan to close NYC schools when coronavirus positivity rate hits 3%

Dave Goldiner, New York Daily News
·2 min read

NEW YORK — Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday that New York City should “seriously consider” keeping public schools open even if the coronavirus positivity rate hits 3% as expected in coming days or weeks.

The governor said the city should consider the lower positive rates within schools — compared to the community — before shutting down.

“If the school has a much lower rate, the school is not part of the problem,” Cuomo said. “You could argue that keeping kids in the schools is part of the solution.”

New York City authorities came up with the 3% figure in the summer to mandate school closures as a way of removing what the governor himself called the possibility of political interference with public health.

Cuomo set a statewide maximum of 5% but has not spoken out against the lower number in the city until now.

But Cuomo said the city and state now have a more sophisticated and extensive testing program, which he says allows authorities to track the spread of COVID-19 in a more precise way.

“I would add a second calculus. It’s safer and provides more intelligent data,” he said. “New York City should seriously consider that.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio said city public schools would close if the city’s overall positivity rate hit 3%. Cuomo said he spoke to the mayor but did not reveal what his reaction was.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 cases and positive test rates continue to rise across New York.

Cuomo announced 5,388 new COVID-19 cases were recorded in the state Friday. More than 1,788 New Yorkers were hospitalized and 24 people died.

Those numbers remain much lower than other states and are still far below what New York state endured in the early days of the pandemic. But they have risen significantly in recent days and weeks.

New York’s statewide positivity rate is at 2.92%.

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