NY Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Friday that all K through 12 schools, colleges, and universities across the state will stay closed until the end of the academic year. These schools will continue to provide distance learning for this period. There’s still no word on what plans are in effect for summer school programming, but Cuomo says they would make a decision on that programming by the end of May. 

The governor is asking the schools and colleges affected to draw up plans for reopening, taking into account how they’re going to provide for students’ physical and mental health. In addition, he’s asking schools to figure out how they will restart extracurricular plans. All schools will submit the plans to the state for review and approval.   

The state is partnering with the Kate Spade New York Foundation and Crisis Text Line to make available an emotional support service for frontline care workers. Such workers can text NYFRONTLINE to 741-741 to get access to these services. Cuomo also notes that health insurers regulated by New York State will have to waive cost-sharing for in-network mental health services for the state's frontline essential workers. This includes deductibles, copayment and coinsurance. 

As of Friday New York State has over 308,000 cases of the novel coronavirus, up nearly 4,000 from yesterday, according to the state department of health. There are no new confirmed cases of the virus in Schuyler County, and according to health department officials the caseload stands at 9, with all cases having recovered. 455 people have been tested in total. In Tompkins County the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 stands at 132. According to the Tompkins county health department, 5 people are currently hospitalized for COVID-19. 100 of the positive cases have seen resolved symptoms, and over 3500 people have been tested in total.

the Cayuga Health Sampling Site was closed Friday due to predicted inclement weather. To make up for lost time, the Sampling Site will be open Saturday from 10am-3pm. To pre-register, call 607-319-5708, or go online to cayugahealthsystem.org.

Earlier this week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo established the New York Forward re-Opening Advisory Board.  The group is tasked with providing guidance to businesses, academic institutions and local organizations on how to implement the state’s reopening strategy. 

Cornell University President Martha E. Pollack has been named as a member of the task force, the Cornell Chronicle reports.  Orinthia T. Montague, President of the Tompkins Cortland Community College, is also a member. The re-opening advisory board seeks to provide recommendations and guidelines by May 15. 

Another task force active in decisions surrounding the re-opening of the state is the Restart Plan for Higher Education.  Cornell Provost Michael I. Kotlikoff co-chairs the group with Adelphi University President Christine Riordan.  This group will provide broad guidelines for restarting higher education in the state.

A new Greenstar food Co-op location is set to open its doors this Wednesday, May 6, according to the Ithaca Voice. The new location is located at 770 Cascadilla Street. The last day of shopping for the other location at 701 W. Buffalo street will be tomorrow, May 2nd.

The new location will be much bigger with 16,500 square feet, and it features wider aisles that can accommodate social distancing rules. This location will have a larger deli, safer parking lot and a new housewares and pet section.

Lively Run, a local cheese maker, has made its first set of deliveries of over 150 pounds of cheese to food pantries across the region according to the Finger Lakes Times. Press Bay Food Hub in Ithaca, the Trumansburg Food Pantry, the South Seneca Food Pantry and two other food pantries all received cheese deliveries.

The cheese is made from surplus goat and cow’s milk. Like in many agricultural regions, large amounts of dairy producers in Upstate New York have been forced to dump their milk due to a decreased demand for dairy products from restaurants and other institutions amid the pandemic. The head cheesemaker of Lively Run, considered this a waste, and launched an initiative that would purchase the excess milk, and turn it into cheese for food pantries. 

Lively Run started a Go Fund me in mid-April to fund the purchase of the ingredients, and the making and delivery of the product. As of Wednesday, the Go Fund Me has more than doubled its initial goal of $20,000. 

Contributing writing by WRFI News Volunteers Ed von Aderkas, Esther Racoosin, and News Intern Christian Maitre