NY Gov. Cuomo Explains Why Schools Are Closing Even Though They Don't Spread COVID

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Posted: Nov 14, 2020 10:00 AM
NY Gov. Cuomo Explains Why Schools Are Closing Even Though They Don't Spread COVID

Source: Darren McGee/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo via AP

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) on Friday acknowledged that school districts in New York City will close on Monday because of high community spread even though they aren't the driving force behind the Big Apple's Wuhan coronavirus infection rate.

"Are schools going to close Monday if we top three percent?" MSNBC host Katy Tur asked.

"Yup," he replied flatly. 

According to Cuomo, his office set parameters for schools being open or closed and then local governments set their own guidelines with individual school districts.

"New York City set three percent as the agreement. If the number goes over three percent – and, by the way, [three percent] is very low, almost 80 percent of the states are above three percent, three percent is a low number – but, if it goes over three percent, schools will close," he explained. "The question then will be how quickly can we reopen them? 

"We've learned a lot over the past few months. We do a tremendous amount of testing in the schools and what we've learned, Katy, is we're not seeing spread in the schools. You see a very low percentage of positivity in the schools so even though you have a jurisdiction that may be at three percent that doesn't mean the schools are what's spreading it," the governor explained. "We have to take that into consideration and that will facilitate a reopening. 

The puzzled MSNBC host asked what we're all wondering: if schools aren't the force behind community spread, why close them? Cuomo said it's because the three percent community spread is the threshold school districts, local governments, teachers' unions and parents came to when the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic first hit earlier this year.