Jul 8, 2020
I understand many people are anxiously awaiting a decision on school reopening. New York has 700 school districts statewide that range from rural to urban to suburban districts and we have been spending the past weeks and months in dicussion with all stakeholders on what September looks like. As in every other decision on reopening, our first responsibility is health and safety. All schools are required to submit a reopening plan by the end of July.
We all want schools to open, but we must ensure that it is safe. I wouldn't ask anyone to put their child in a situation that I would not put my child in. Like every decision we make, we will decide based on data and facts. A plan will be announced in the first week of August.
Here's what else you need to know tonight:
1. All county fairs across the state are canceled. Earlier this week we made the heartbreaking decision not to hold the New York State Fair this year, and out of an abundance of caution, no county fairs will be held until further notice.
2. Long Island entered Phase 4 of reopening today. Read more about Phase 4 here
3. Malls in Phase 4 regions can open July 10th but only if they have high-efficiency venting systems capable of reducing the spread of COVID-19. HVAC systems will be required to include filters with a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value - or MERV - rating that filters out of the COVID-19 virus, but can, if the system makes additional protections, run on a minimum MERV of 11. Ventilation protocols include increased outdoor air, reduced air circulation, longer system run times and frequent filter checks. Staff and shoppers will be required to wear masks and maintain social distancing protocols.
4. New York State will provide 1,000 masks and 1,000 2-ounce bottles of hand sanitizer for distribution on Fire Island. The Fire Island COVID Destroyers, a partnership that includes GMHC and Fire Island community leaders, will distribute the protective gear on the island.
5. The number of total hospitalizations continues to remain low. Yesterday, there were 841 total hospitalizations. The State conducted 57,585 tests. Only 592 tests, or 1.2% were positive. Sadly, we lost 11 New Yorkers to the virus.
Tonight's "Deep Breath Moment": To help her neighbors access food, 19-year-old college student Carolina Cortes set up a community food drop-off in Washington Heights. Known as "The Uptown Fridge," this community service allows people to drop off food they no longer need and pick up food when they do.
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