Schools and Colleges Statewide Closed for Remainder of Academic Year
Governor Cuomo announced today that K-12 schools and colleges statewide will remain closed for the remainder of the academic year. In the meantime, schools will be required to maintain their distance learning initiatives, meal programs will continue, and child care services for essential employees also will continue. A decision on summer school programming will be made by the end of May. The Governor has not set a timetable for deciding whether schools will reopen this fall, but schools and colleges must develop reopening plans for the State’s review and approval prior to opening.
The Governor stated that decisions on summer camp operations will be made on a regional basis.
Future of “New York State on PAUSE” Protocols
“New York State on PAUSE” business restrictions and social protocols are in effect through May 15. The Governor will decide whether to extend or modify these directives prior to this date.
Mental Health Initiatives
The Governor announced that New York State is partnering with the Kate Spade New York Foundation and Crisis Text Line to provide a 24/7 emotional support service for frontline health care workers. These workers can text NYFRONTLINE to 741-741 to access the services.
Additionally, the New York State Department of Financial Services will require State-regulated health insurers to waive cost-sharing (including deductibles), copayments and coinsurance for in-network mental health services for New York’s frontline essential workers during COVID-19. Finally, the Department also will be issuing an emergency regulation to prohibit insurers from imposing cost-sharing for telehealth and in-person mental health services rendered by in-network providers on an outpatient basis to frontline essential workers eligible to be tested at one of the State’s drive through or walk-in COVID-19 testing sites.
Thankfully, we are remaining on the far side of the COVID-19 plateau. That said, the number of deaths in the State has increased by 289 since yesterday to 18,610 total.
Governor Cuomo announced today that the State will work to expand its COVID Contact Tracing Pilot Program by teaming with the NYC Department of Health, former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s company Vital Strategies, Johns Hopkins University, Resolve to Save Lives and the SUNY/CUNY system to help with tracing training, recruitment, guidance, and smart phone application development. This new system will hire an estimated 6,400 to 17,000 individuals to accomplish the goal of 30 contact tracers per 100,000 infected individuals. This program will also coordinate with the neighboring states of Connecticut and New Jersey as they too look to increase their tracing abilities.
Disinfecting the MTA
Governor Cuomo also announced the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) Essential Connector Plan to upgrade their cleaning and disinfecting plan to cover the entire system, every evening. Beginning on May 6 from 1:00AM to 5:00AM the entire system will shut down to allow for the new plan to be put into action. During these periods of down time, the MTA will provide transportation options such as additional buses, for-hire-vehicles and “dollar-vans” to allow essential works and others get to their desired destinations. Further, the Long Island Rail Road and Metro North lines will be able to continue their current normal operational during the scheduled cleanings. This plan will be carried out by a combination of efforts of the MTA, the State and the NYPD.
We continue to appear to be on the far side of the COVID-19 plateau. That said, the number of deaths in the State has increased by 306 since yesterday to 18,321 total.
Today Governor Cuomo named the 35 counties in New York State that are currently eligible under the existing guidelines to resume elective outpatient treatments and surgeries. The full list is below:
The Governor today indicated that the upcoming New York State Fair and the Saratoga Race Track season may not happen this summer as they typically would. The Governor stated that the only way he could foresee them being able to operate would be with a complete state wide level of re-opening that would also need to be coordinated with both Connecticut and New Jersey. The Governor specifically cited whether it would even be possible to hold either of these events safely while still being able to observe current safe social distancing protocol.
New York City MTA Cleaning
The MTA today has been directed to present a plan by tomorrow identifying how every subway and train car as well as all buses in the system be disinfected for the morning commute every day.
As the trackable numbers and the infection rate continue to decline or it appears that we are firmly on the fare side of the plateau. That said, the number of deaths in the State has increased by 330 since yesterday to 17,968 total.
Governor Cuomo reiterated the factors that will guide New York State’s reopening, which will occur regionally and in phases:
Follow CDC guidelines: there must be a 14-day decline in infection/hospitalization rates
Phase 1: Construction/Manufacturing – which projects can be accomplished safely?
Phase 2: Identify additional businesses for reopening (prioritizing lower risk services) and prohibit regional “attractive nuisances” – any attractions or openings that could draw a large number of visitors from outside local areas (citing an example, the Governor stated he doubts that the New York State Fair held in late August in Syracuse will be able to operate this year)
What business precautions will be in place, such as social distancing and health monitoring?
In regards to the regional healthcare capacity, a region must have at least 30 percent of hospital beds available after elective surgeries resume while taking into account the upcoming flu season and PPE stockpile.
What is the testing regimen?
What is the tracing regimen?
What type of isolation facilities are available in the area to quarantine individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19?
Regional coordination in four main categories:
Regional “control rooms” for information gathering and processing
Protect and respect essential workers – provide workers adequate testing and protective equipment, and ensure cleaning/disinfecting of public spaces.
NY Forward Reopening Advisory Board
The Governor announced the formation of the NY Forward Reopening Advisory Board, comprised of 100 business, community and civic leaders who will help guide the State’s reopening efforts. The full list of the Board members can be found at the bottom of this email as well as at the following link.
Reopening of Schools
The Governor expects to make a decision on reopening schools in the State by the end of this week.
New York City
Mayor de Blasio officially announced a new grading policy for NYC public schools due to the coronavirus crisis. Under the new policy, students in kindergarten through fifth grade will have two grading standards in which students will either receive “meets standards” or “needs improvement.” Middle school kids in grades 6 through 8 will either receive “meets standards,” “needs improvement” or “course in progress,” which means the student needs more time to finish schoolwork. High school students will continue to receive letter grades but will not be issued failing grades. Rather, a “course in progress” for students who need more time over the summer to complete course requirements. After final grades have been given out, students and families will have the option of converting any passing spring semester grades from a letter grade into a “pass.” “Pass” courses will not count towards a student’s grade point average.
We continue to appear to be on the far side of the COVID-19 plateau. That said, the number of deaths in the State has increased by 335 since yesterday to 17,638 total.
MEMBERS OF NEW YORK FORWARD RE-OPENING ADVISORY BOARD
Quenia Abreu – President New York Women’s Chamber of Commerce
Elizabeth Alexander – President, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Vincent Alvarez – President, NYC Central Labor Council
Ajay Banga – CEO, MasterCard
Kathy Behrens – President, Social Responsibility & Player Programs, National Basketball Association
Bill Berkley – Chair, NYU
Albert Bourla – CEO, Pfizer
Elizabeth Bradley – President, Vassar College
Kyle Bragg – President, SEIU 32BJ
Heather Briccetti – President & CEO, The Business Council
Tory Burch – Executive Chair, Tory Burch LLC
Gerrard P. Bushell – former President and CEO of the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY)
James Cahill – President, NYS Building and Construction Trades
Wellington Chen – Executive Director of Chinatown Business Improvement District
Mario Cilento – President, NYS AFL-CIO
Henry Cisneros – Siebert, Brandford, Shank & Co.
Dr. Katherine Conway-Turner – President, SUNY Buffalo State College
Steven M. Cohen – Former Secretary to the Governor
Stacey Cunningham – President, NYSE
Vijay Dandapani – President & CEO, Hotel Association of NYC
Sonya Del Peral – Nine Pin Ciderworks
Mylan Denerstein – Partner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher
Alicia Fernandez Dicks – President/CEO, Community Foundation of Oneida and Herkimer
James Dolan – CEO, Madison Square Garden
Stacey Duncan – Executive Director, The Agency
Leecia Eve – Vice President of State Government Affairs, Verizon
Bill Ford – CEO, General Atlantic LLC
Jane Fraser – President, Citigroup
Adena Friedman – President & CEO, Nasdaq
Bea Grause – President, Healthcare Association of New York State
Jonathan Gray – President & COO, Blackstone Group
George Gresham – President, 1199SEIU
Horacio Gutierrez – General Counsel, Spotify
Sabrina HoSang Jordan – CEO, Caribbean Food Delights, Inc.
Maria Imperial – CEO, YWCA White Plains & Central Westchester
Shirley Ann Jackson – President, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Dr. Amarilis Jacobo – President, National Hispanic Dental Association
Jeremy Jacobs Jr – Co-Chief Executive Officer, Delaware North
Michele Johnson – YWCAs of Elmira – President of YWCAs NYS
René Jones – Chair & CEO, M&T Bank
Michel Khalaf – President & CEO, MetLife
Pat Kane – Executive Director, New York State Nurses Association
Gary LaBarbera – President, Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York
Mary Beth Labate – President, Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities
Kevin Law – President & CEO, Long Island Association, Inc.
Jon Ledecky – Co-Owner, NY Islanders
Kewsong Lee – Co-CEO, Carlyle Group
Randy Levine – President, NY Yankees
Mayra Linares-Garcia – VP of Public Affairs and Communications at Liberty Coca-Cola Beverages
Melanie Littlejohn – Chair, Board of Directors, CenterState CEO