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Gov. Cuomo on July 23 in New York City. Photo: Jeenah Moon/Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday that all school districts across the state can choose to reopen for in-person learning because it has so far maintained low enough coronavirus transmission rates.

Why it matters: It’s another sign that the state, once the global epicenter of the pandemic, has — at least for now — successfully curbed the spread of the virus even as infections have surged elsewhere around the country.

  • Districts can decide to reopen as long as the average rate of positive tests remains below 5%. The state as a whole — including New York City — has maintained a positivity rate of around 1%.
  • The state is requiring school districts to post their remote learning plans as well as testing and tracing plans online — as well as hold discussion sessions with parents and communities before Aug. 21 and to speak directly with teachers about reopening.
  • Masks and social distancing will also be required, and schools should provide masks to students that do not have them.

Worth noting: Cuomo did acknowledge that the decision to allow children to return to school will ultimately be a personal one for parents as the pandemic continues.

  • "It is not just a question of the state or the local school district pronouncing that the schools are going to be open. The parents are going to make the ultimate decision on a practical level, right?" he said.

Go deeper

Nov 14, 2020 - Health

Austria announces nationwide lockdown as COVID-19 cases soar

Austria's Chancellor Sebastian Kurz hold a news confernce in Vienna. Photo: Herbert Neubauer/APA/AFP via Getty Images

Austria will impose a nationwide lockdown on Tuesday, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said Saturday, after a nighttime curfew and partial shutdown failed to control the country's surge in coronavirus cases.

Why it matters: Austria is experiencing an average of 7,000 new COVID-19 cases a day, Kurz tweeted on Saturday. The nation confirmed a record 9,586 new virus cases on Friday, per Reuters.

Nov 15, 2020 - World

Mexico tops 1 million coronavirus cases, as death toll nears 100,000

A sign above crowds of people in a street in Mexico City, Mexico, warning to "avoid masses" and keep distance from others during a nationwide, 12-day shopping event that's running through Nov. 20, designed to stimulate the economy. Photo: Cristopher Rogel Blanquet/Getty Images

Mexico surpassed 1 million coronavirus cases and over 98,200 deaths from COVID-19 late Saturday, per Johns Hopkins data.

Driving the news: Mexican health officials have focused on testing the seriously ill and conducted only about 2.5 million COVID-19 tests in total — representing 1.9% of the population, AP reports.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
Updated Nov 14, 2020 - Politics & Policy

The failed promise of education

Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photos: Spencer Grant, George Rose, Stephen F. Somerstein/Getty Images

In America, it's better to be born wealthy — which often means white — than to be born smart.

Why it matters: For decades, the U.S. has held up schooling as the key to unlocking the American dream, but the facts tell us that education's promise is a false one.