Red, Orange Coronavirus Zone Schools Can Reopen, Cuomo Says

NEW YORK CITY — A new agreement provides New York City schools in “red” and “orange” coronavirus zones a path to reopening so long as everyone in the buildings gets tested, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

Cuomo’s announcement Friday provided only the bare bones of how schools in city and state COVID-19 hotspots can return to in-person class. He didn’t provide a timetable, but said the agreement would apply to all schools, public and private, closed because of red and orange restrictions.

“Basic rule is before you reopen a school all the people who go in to a school — students and teachers — will be tested and only those who are negative are allowed to go back into the school,” he said.

A wide swath of southern Brooklyn remains covered by a “red” zone marking an area of high coronavirus infections. The area has 66 public schools closed under the zone’s restrictions, according to the city’s Department of Education.

Many residents in the zone have pushed for schools, particularly yeshivas, to reopen.

Cuomo said the testing agreement will give parents assurance everyone who is in the school doesn’t have coronavirus. Health officials will also get an idea of where the virus is spreading in the community through any positive tests, he said.

Ongoing random tests will be conducted on 25 percent of each school’s population, Cuomo said.

More than nine positive tests in a smaller school would lead to a closure, officials said. A positivity rate above 2 percent in a New York City school would send it back to remote learning.

The state will provide rapid tests for the schools, Cuomo said.

This article originally appeared on the New York City Patch