New York City is in Phase 4 of reopening now, which includes zoos, botanical gardens, museums, and gyms. A look at preparing for the spread of coronavirus is here, and if you have lingering questions about the virus, here is our regularly updated coronavirus FAQ. Here are some local and state hotlines for more information: NYC: 311; NY State Hotline: 888-364-3065; NJ State Hotline: 800-222-1222.
Here's the latest:
- Trump Violates Public Health Guidelines To Hold Indoor Rally In Nevada
- At Least 12 CT Schools Have Closed After Finding COVID-19 Cases
- Video Shows Packed Crown Heights Synagogue Ahead Of Jewish High Holy Days
- 'An Open Window's Not Gonna Cut It': Ventilation Expert Warns Teachers About Classroom COVID Risks
5 p.m. The New York City Department of Education on Monday afternoon reported that 42% of families have indicated that they will keep their children at home for remote-only learning, suggesting reluctance to start the school year under the city’s hybrid plan.
Since the city began releasing the weekly results of its learning preference survey, the share of parents opting for remote or online only education has steadily risen from 26% on August 10th, the first time Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the breakdown. Under the system devised by the DOE, those who do not fill out the survey are automatically defaulted into "blended" or hybrid learning, which offers between one to three days a week of in-person instruction. Parents are allowed to choose the remote-only option at any time, while they can enroll into the hybrid plan only during a few designated times during the school year.
In-person classes at public schools are scheduled to start on September 21st. Armed with low coronavirus positivity rates, New York City is trying to become the only major school district in the country to bring students back to classrooms amid the ongoing pandemic.
The DOE's data also continues to show large numbers of minority families choosing to have their children stay at home: 59% of Asian public school parents have chosen to keep their children at home for full-remote learning. They were followed by Black parents, who had the second-highest "opt-out" rate—40%—followed by 39% among Hispanic parents.
Reports of infections may only deter more parents from sending their children to school. On Monday, Mayor de Blasio said that 55 DOE staffers had tested positive out of nearly 17,000 individuals tested. On Friday, a Bronx school was closed after two teachers tested positive for the virus.
Six public schools on Long Island reported infections, resulting in one middle school in Syosset to cancel in-person classes and an elementary school in South Huntington moving to online classes, Newsday reported.
A letter sent Monday from the South Huntington schools superintendent to parents noted that the staff member at the Countrywood elementary school infected "had a unique position that requires contact with virtually every child in the school."
Outside of New York, at least 12 Connecticut schools closed after educators or students tested positive for coronavirus (see below), while at least six school districts in New Jersey have switched to remote only after confirmed cases were discovered.
New York state on Monday launched its official COVID-19 Report Card website, which will report positive cases by school name or district. But in a sign of a reporting lag, as of the afternoon, the site had not yet been updated to include the latest test results for New York City schools.
Note: Due to a calculation error, the opt-out rates by ethnicity have been updated.
At Least 12 CT Schools Have Closed After Finding COVID-19 Cases
Connecticut, which has a positivity testing rate of around 1%, reopened schools in late August with safety precautions including masks and social distancing. More than half of all school districts in the state have opted for full in-person learning. The state's largest school district, Hartford, has offered in-person instruction for five days a week for students in kindergarten through 9th grade. But as of last month, only about 32% of parents had signed up to send their children to school. Like New York City, parents can elect to keep their children at home for full remote learning.
A string of schools, including an elementary school in Stamford and a middle school in Bridgeport, have all since announced temporary closures and a switch to remote learning. In almost all the cases, only one positive test was confirmed. Under the state's Department of Education guidelines, a school with two or more cases within 14 days that are found to be linked may close for two weeks in consultation with local health officials.
On Monday, Governor Ned Lamont chastised schools for closing after finding only one virus case.
“No, no, no, no,” he said, during an interview with WNPR. “Especially for K through 8, we’re trying to keep that 4th grade class unto itself as a pod as a cohort. So that if there happens to be an infection in that one class, it’s just those 20 students and that teacher who would have to quarantine — not the entire middle school or not the entire school.”
“Let’s put this into context,” Lamont added. “We’re still one of the lowest states in terms on infection rates in the country.”
New York City, which is set to reopen its public school system on September 21st, is giving parents the option of a hybrid plan that includes in-person learning.
Trump Violates Public Health Guidelines To Hold Indoor Rally In Nevada
President Donald Trump on Sunday held an indoor campaign rally in Nevada that drew thousands of mostly maskless supporters, in defiance of the state's ban on gatherings of 50 people or more intended to prevent the spread of a virus that has killed nearly 200,000 people in the United States.
It was the second such large indoor event for the president. The other, a campaign rally that took place in late June in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was blamed for causing an outbreak of nearly 500 cases. The late Herman Cain, a former presidential hopeful and Trump ally who died from the virus in July, had been among the Tulsa attendees.
Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, condemned Trump's actions on Twitter as "shameful, dangerous and irresponsible."
During Sunday's event, Trump once again played down the severity of the pandemic, telling the crowd that the country was “making the last turn” in beating the virus, according to the Associated Press. Trump has been scrutinized all week for recently revealed remarks in a book by journalist Bob Woodward where he admitted that he knew the virus was more serious than the flu but told the country otherwise.
“This is deadly stuff,” Mr. Trump told Woodward in February, according to audio recordings published by the Washington Post. “You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed."
On the same day, the World Health Organization reported 307,930 coronavirus cases in 24 hours, the highest daily caseload to date. While cases have started to decline, the United States has confirmed more than 6.5 million infections, the most of any nation. Across the 50 states, around 47,000 new cases along with roughly 700 deaths are still being reported each day.
Trump's campaign defended the Nevada rally, which was held at a manufacturing plant outside Las Vegas, as protected under freedom of speech. The campaign's communications director Tim Murtaugh issued a statement saying, “If you can join tens of thousands of people protesting in the streets, gamble in a casino, or burn down small businesses in riots, you can gather peacefully under the 1st Amendment to hear from the President of the United States."
Outbreaks are still surging across the globe. On Sunday, Israel announced that it would enter a second national shutdown, the first country to do so amid the pandemic.
The Trump administration, meanwhile, has urged states to reopen businesses and schools despite the evidence of rising cases in regions like the Midwest. His administration has been unable to reach a deal with Democrats on another stimulus bill, with millions still unemployed, businesses struggling, and states and local governments facing unprecedented fiscal crises.
“We are not shutting the country again," Trump said, during the rally. "A shutdown would destroy the lives and dreams of millions Americans."