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NYC’s COVID threat rises, however faculty masks mandates haven’t to returned

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With New York Metropolis shifting into a better threat class for the unfold of COVID, town’s well being division is “strongly” encouraging masking in indoor public locations, together with faculties. However lecture rooms stay mask-optional, faculty officers confirmed Monday.

New York Metropolis Well being Commissioner Ashwin Vasan introduced town is now within the yellow zone, or a “medium” threat class, below a color-coded system launched by Mayor Eric Adams’ administration in March. The announcement famous that New York Metropolis has surpassed a charge of 200 COVID circumstances per 100,000 folks over seven days. 

“What this implies for New Yorkers is that they have to train even larger warning than they’ve the previous couple of weeks,” Vasan stated in an announcement. Individuals at excessive threat for issues from COVID ought to “contemplate extra precautions resembling avoiding crowded indoor gatherings,” he stated.

In keeping with beforehand issued well being division steerage, as soon as town reaches the medium-risk COVID stage, officers could contemplate reinstating masks mandates in “high-risk settings the place it’s crowded and distance can’t be maintained,” which incorporates faculties. 

A spokesperson for the well being division didn’t instantly reply about whether or not Vasan would advocate bringing again common masking in lecture rooms.

The varsity masks mandate was lifted for many college students on March 7, nevertheless it has remained in place for youngsters in preschools and daycares. Kids below 5 stay ineligible for vaccinations towards COVID, although they could be capable to get their jabs starting in June.

Final week there have been greater than 4,700 circumstances of COVID reported amongst college students and workers, based on public information collected by the advocacy group PRESS, or Mother and father for Responsive Equitable Protected Colleges. That complete may embody a backlog of circumstances that weren’t reported whereas faculties had been closed for spring break. 

Town just lately started sending college students 4 at-home COVID exams to make use of every week, two for the scholars to make use of 5 days aside and two for an additional family member. Beforehand, college students solely acquired two exams, and solely after being in shut contact with somebody who has examined optimistic for the virus. College staffers get two exams every week. 

“The approaching weeks will probably be vital to slowing the unfold of COVID-19 and getting again to a low-risk stage so we are able to extra safely get pleasure from our spring,” Vasan stated in an announcement. 

Christina Veiga is a reporter overlaying New York Metropolis faculties with a give attention to faculty variety and preschool. Contact Christina at cveiga@chalkbeat.org.

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