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Children return to NYC schools; U.S. adds 33K COVID-19 cases

By
Don Jacobson
A student wearing a face mask arrives at P.S. 188, The Island School in New York City on Tuesday. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 29 (UPI) -- Thousands of students in New York City returned to classrooms on Tuesday for the first time in months after they were shuttered by the COVID-19 crisis.

Tuesday marked the return for K-5 and K-8 students in the city, which early this year was the U.S. epicenter of the outbreak.

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The city had to meet certain criteria to reopen the schools and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo indicated he won't hesitate to close them again if cases surge.

"The numbers will show if there's a problem, and then we'll act accordingly," he said.

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Updated data from Johns Hopkins University Tuesday showed the United States added 33,000 cases and about 300 deaths on Monday.

The new cases marked a third straight day of declines after 55,000 were added Friday

Since the start of the outbreak, there have been 7.15 million cases and 205,200 deaths in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins. Most of the deaths, 33,000, have occurred in New York.

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Cuomo said some parts of the state are showing alarmingly high positivity rates, including villages in Rockland County -- which saw an outbreak earlier this year.

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The villages, Spring Valley and Monsey, have shown high positivity rates of up to 30%, he told reporters. The state will provide rapid testing for those areas and others with high positivity rates, he said.

Rockland County Executive Ed Day called on Cuomo to declare a containment zone for parts of the villages, along similar rationale when he sent the National Guard to New Rochelle in March when cases there grew.

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"The Guard really did a lot of clean up, they did a lot of delivery of food," Day said. "They served as a buffer in the community."

In Florida, the Miami-Dade County School Board will hold an emergency meeting Tuesday to discuss reopening schools after Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran ordered the district to open all buildings by next week.

Corcoran's order contradicted a school board decision last week to open schools for some students on Oct. 14 and a week later for others.

The Miami-Dade district is the fourth-largest in the United States.

At Tuesday's meeting, the board will consider revising the timeline to allow students to resume in-person classes as soon as Oct. 5.

Corcoran and Gov. Ron DeSantis had set a deadline of Aug. 31 for all Florida schools to open for five days a week, and threatened to withhold millions in federal funding to districts that did not comply.

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Many teachers opposed Corcoran's order, saying it compromises students' safety.

"We elected our school board here, locally, and [Corcoran] is disregarding not only local conditions but local democratic processes," Miami-Dade High School history teacher Thomas Fiori told WPLG-TV.

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