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

What we overlooked in the switch to remote learning

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

America’s rapid and urgent transition to online school has come with a host of unforeseen consequences that are only getting worse as it continues into the fall.

The big picture: The issues range from data privacy to plagiarism, and schools are ill-equipped to deal with them, experts say.

The price of Washington's stimulus failure

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

America's elected representatives have failed America.

Why it matters: The bipartisan inability to deliver economic stimulus could impede economic growth for months to come. It will create widespread damage across America — from small businesses to large industries to schools and day cares — and leave many Americans without jobs or homes.

Updated Sep 21, 2020 - Politics & Policy

CDC says it mistakenly published guidance about COVID-19 spreading through air

CDC Director Robert Redfield. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Pool/Getty Images

The CDC has removed new guidance that acknowledged airborne transmission of the coronavirus, posting in a note on its website that the guidance was only a draft and had been published in error.

Why it matters: The initial update — which was little noticed until a CNN story was published Sunday — had come months after scientists pushed for the agency to acknowledge the disease was transmissible through the air. The CDC previously said that close person-to-person contact was the bigger concern, and the language has been changed back to erase the warning about airborne transmission.

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