Schools slow to begin supplying COVID testing results

Sep 15, 2020

Monday was the first day back at school for many of New York’s kindergarten through 12th-grade students, though some students will learn remotely. Health officials say they will monitor whether the in-person classes cause any outbreaks of COVID-19.

The New York State Health Department has set up a dashboard for parents who want to see whether anyone in their child’s school district has tested positive for the coronavirus. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the new site a few days ago. 

“If there’s a problem, we will see the problem,” the governor said on Sept. 10.

So far, the site does not contain data from some of the state’s more than 700 school districts. The site says that they have not yet reported anything to the health department.

The reopening of colleges and universities over the past few weeks has led to outbreaks of the virus. At least one campus, the State University of New York at Oneonta, has closed down for the semester. SUNY Oswego has canceled sports and activities of fraternities and sororities and temporarily ended in-person dining as positive cases have grown. 

Cuomo said that if it’s possible to conduct at least some in-person K-12 classes, then he believes that schools should continue to do so, but he said he’ll recommend changing those plans if there are multiple outbreaks. 

“If we have to do something different, we will do something different,” Cuomo said. 

Sunday marked the 38th day in a row that the state's coronavirus infection rate was below 1%, but there were 583 new cases reported and four people died of the disease.