During a press conference on Monday, NY Governor Kathy Hochul stuck to her stance of ensuring schools stay open, amidst the ongoing coronavirus surge in New York.
After a lull in the number of infections statewide, on Monday New York State broke its single-day record for a fourth straight day, with over 23,400 infections recorded overnight.
With the Omicron variant causing numerous breakthrough infections in recent weeks, despite vaccinations and booster doses, Hochul faced enormous pressure in terms of keeping schools open. What’s worse was that during the press conference, State Health Commissioner Mary Bassett did not join Hochul because she had tested positive for Covid-19 with a rapid test.
Talking of possible school closures, Hochul said, “We are keeping our schools open. Let me repeat that: we are keeping schools open. Because we are dealing with a very different variant at this time, we believe that it is critically important that our children not end up in that same situation they were in for so many months.”
Speaking about her winter surge plan, Hochul added, “Our school districts will follow the Test to Stay protocols and make sure they are no longer required to have a PCR test to return, but a rapid test, we will help out, we will take responsibility. We are in communication with the school superintendents, we ordered two million tests, right to the schools.”
Under the program, endorsed by the CDC, exposed students can take a test, and return to school if they are negative.
Meanwhile, to combat the overall situation, the state will add more than 40 new vaccination and booster pop-up sites.