August 7, 2020.
Dear New York,
The infection rate statewide—in every region—is below the established threshold and therefore all school districts are permitted to open this fall. Whether your school will be in-person, remote, or a hybrid model, will be determined locally by each individual school district under strict Department of Health guidelines.
Every school district was required to submit a reopening plan to the Department of Health, which will be carefully reviewed. Additionally, school districts must post their remote learning plans, as well as plans for testing and tracing students and staff, on their websites. These plans must be transparent and accessible.
Parents and teachers must feel safe and secure in each school district’s plan to return to school, and to that end, school districts are required to engage all parties. Specifically, they must set dates for 3-5 discussion sessions with parents and the community, to be held by August 21, and at least one separate discussion session for teachers specifically.
Based on our infection rate of about one percent, New York State is in the best possible situation right now. If anybody can open schools safely, we can. We can bring the same level of intelligence to the schools reopening that we brought to the economic reopening.
Photo of the Day: A highway sign reminder that COVID is still a risk (Photo by Nina Dudko)
Here’s what else you need to know tonight:
1. The total number of COVID hospitalizations continues to remain low. Yesterday, there were 579 total hospitalizations. The State conducted 70,170 tests, of which 714, or 1.0%, were positive. Sadly, we lost 5 New Yorkers to the virus.
2. The moratorium on evictions in New York State has been extended to September 4th. The moratorium was first put in place in March to protect residential and commercial tenants facing financial hardship due to the pandemic. As long as we are in the middle of the pandemic, there will be no evictions.
3. The next federal stimulus bill must include state and local aid for New York. I issued a letter today with NY Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and NYS Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie to New York’s Congressional delegation outlining the state’s urgent need for federal aid. Like many other states, New York has spent millions on COVID-related expenses, even as state revenues went into a free fall. New York requires $30 billion in federal aid over 2 years to avoid dramatic budget cuts that would leave our state and every one of its communities in a precarious financial position.
4. Over 4 million TV viewers across the U.S. have seen New York’s “Mask Up America” PSAs. In partnership with the Ad Council, these ads—featuring the voices of Morgan Freeman, Jeffrey Wright, Robert De Niro, and many others—are aimed at promoting mask-wearing not just in New York but around the country. Watch the series of ads here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adhzDLGNjXE&list=PLfadY7H_ED1pKNyBCqsX6s8weAG5p7lM9
Tonight’s “Deep Breath Moment”: In Tuscany, “wine windows,” or buchette del vino are seeing a revival in popularity due to the pandemic. These small wooden hatches were first introduced in the 1600s during the bubonic plague and allowed merchants to sell wine with limited contact. Centuries later, Florence Wine Window owners are using the medieval fixtures to sell wine, coffee and other snacks.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo