Uncertainty remains about schools in red zones

November 6, 2020 Jaime DeJesus
Uncertainty remains about schools in red zones
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There’s more confusion about school reopening plans in Brooklyn COVID hotspots.

On Friday, Oct. 30, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced guidelines for schools to reopen in red micro-cluster zones in order to help keep them open to in-person instruction. He said impacted schools could’ve reopened as early as Monday, Nov. 2, but students and faculty must be able to provide a negative COVID-19 test result prior to returning to the classroom.

"In the micro-cluster zones, we've been working with schools in the red and the orange zones,” Cuomo said. “The schools, private schools, Catholic schools, yeshivas, want to be open in the red and orange zones, and we've been working with them to try to find ways to keep people safe but allow children to go to school. We have agreed with them on a protocol that keeps people safe and allows children to be educated."

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Franklin D. Roosevelt High School, 5800 20th Ave., is one of the schools that falls within a red zone.

However, on Monday, Nov. 2, Mayor Bill de Blasio said that the city is assessing the state’s rules.

“They're different than what we've seen previously, but I think the first question here is what's going to happen with the red zones in Brooklyn,” de Blasio said. “We're watching the numbers very carefully. The state's going to make that decision. You could well see some changes to those red zones in the course of this week, and that's obviously the best solution here to have those red zones turned to yellow and then the school reopening protocols, very straightforward so that we're assessing the rules, we're assessing that timeline, and then we're going to make a decision in the next couple of days about how to handle it.”

Cuomo said that after a school reopens in a red or orange micro-cluster zone, vigilant screening must be conducted daily and schools must follow the guidelines.

The guidelines state that 2 percent of the in-person learning school community(both students and faculty/staff) must be tested per week and that the school should ensure that it provides opportunities to test on school grounds, or otherwise facilitate testing and accept test results from healthcare providers.

The uncertainty has frustrated parents and elected officials

“The governor announced on Friday that schools in the red zone, including in Southern Brooklyn, can reopen with unspecified conditions being met,” said Councilmember Mark Treyger. “I contacted City Hall numerous times to find out what the plan is and when schools can reopen. They still don’t have a clue and there’s been insufficient communication between the state and city on this topic. This is unacceptable and many students, families, and educators are all greatly impacted.”

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