New York Governor Cuomo plans to issue Fall 2020 K-12 school reopening guidance this week to districts around the state.
WSKG reports that schools have already begun tentative planning for the school year, but Governor Cuomo says he’s waited as long as possible so he can base the decision off the latest data available on the coronavirus.
The New York State School Boards Association is expressing worry of additional costs required for schools like personal protective equipment, more school bus runs, and other expenses that schools might not have the funding for. Governor Cuomo says if there is a lack of funding, he will have to cut state spending on schools by 20% in order to close a multi-billion dollar deficit.
The State Education Department and the Board of Regents have issued some guidelines for schools in anticipation of reactivation, which includes mask-wearing by students and staff, improved ventilation, and daily health checks.
Governor Cuomo says of the impending decision that New York school children will not be put into a position that would endanger their lives.
New Roots Charter school has announced a hybrid online and in-person format for its fall reactivation plans, the Ithaca Times reports. Housed in the historic Clinton House in Downtown Ithaca, the school proposes limiting the space to 50% capacity and an enrollment gap. School leadership have proposed that students be brought into classrooms, in different groups, two days per week, then have remote learning online for two days. The last day of the school week will be spent doing outdoor class projects and electives.
New Roots’ hybrid plan differs from the Ithaca City School District’s model for the fall reactivation: ICSD students and staff have to choose from either a completely in-person learning option, or an online distance teaching and learning option.
All New York school reopening plans for the fall were due to the state on July 31.
In a notice issued by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office today, COVID-19 related hospitalizations and intubations in New York have hit new lows since mid-March. And over the weekend, Governor Cuomo announced that New York State has completed 6 million diagnostic novel coronavirus tests. Over 416,000 have come back positive since testing began.
This comes as Tompkins County reported 2 new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend, along with 5 recoveries, leaving 26 active cases in the area, According to the County Health Department
In Schuyler County, there is 1 active case of COVID-19 as of Monday, according to their Health Department. All other active cases have recovered.
New York State has given Tompkins County $300,000 for COVID-19 contact tracing efforts amid the pandemic and impending flu season.
According to The Ithaca Times, the money is part of a $30 million dollar statewide initiative to support counties with their efforts to control the virus. The money given to each county is based on population and number of cases statewide. Tompkins County’s amount is the 29th among counties, despite being the 23rd largest county population in New York.
This money will be used for both tracing for COVID-19, along with efforts to expand flu prevention and vaccinations. As of June, the local infectious disease contact tracing team has gone up from 6 people to 30, in reaction to the COVID-19 outbreak.
In some local development news, three new small businesses have opened up in Downtown Ithaca. As reported by The Ithaca Voice , the establishments’ ribbon-cutting ceremony is the first one held since the start of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The new businesses are the Kimchi Korean restaurant on the commons, Cayuga Nail Spa on Aurora Street, and Odyssey Bookstore on Green Street. The ceremony was hosted in the last week of July by the Downtown Ithaca Alliance.
Thom Knipe, Director of Economic Development for the City of Ithaca notes that small local businesses are extremely important to the community, especially since downtown will have nearly 500 new residential units in the near future.
Today through Saturday marks National Farmers Market week, and markets across New York State have plans to celebrate.
The Odessa file reports that the businesses are participating in the Give Back New York program which is a way for markets to thank the communities that have supported them throughout the pandemic. This week, they’ll host local food pantries at market locations, and also accept food donations.
In Schuyler County, the Sunset View market is hosting the Catholic Charities and Schuyler County Food Pantry on Thursday August 6th from 4-7PM. The Sunset View market is located in Odessa at 1618 County Road 15.
Today, Governor Cuomo signed legislation extending the look back window from for Child sex abuse victims to file claims under the Child Victims Act. Under the act, which was signed into law in 2019, perpetrators of these sex crimes are held criminally accountable regardless of when, or how long ago, the alleged abuse took place.
The original window to file a claim was set to close this month, but was first extended to January 2021 in May of this year due to the pandemic. Under the new legislation, the special filing period is now extended by a full year, until August 14, 2021.
According to the Governor’s press release, over 3,000 survivors have filed claims under the Child Victims Act since it first went into effect last year.
Contributing writing by WRFI News interns Phoebe Harms and Jon Donville