A coronavirus outbreak in schools that forces them to shutter and turn to all-remote learning is inevitable, Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned Monday.
The governor’s bleak outlook comes ahead of schools reopening with blended learning schedules across the state — and as SUNY Oneonta closes a week into classes after more than 100 students tested positive for COVID-19.
“I believe colleges are the canary in the coal mine,” Cuomo said at a press briefing. “What we’re seeing in colleges I think is going to be replicated in K–12.”
All of the state’s 700 school districts had to submit reopening plans to be approved by the state — with many, including New York City, recommending regular coronavirus testing for staffers and randomized temperature checks of students.
Schools in New York City will start up again on Sept. 10 under a blended model of remote learning and in-person instruction.
Positive cases could mean mass quarantines for those who’ve come into close contact with the infected student.
“It is inevitable that when you bring a concentration of people together, the transmission rate will go up,” Cuomo said.
“So don’t be shocked when we get to September … and schools wind up going to remote or canceling certain classes,” he added. “That is going to happen.”
Classes at SUNY Oneonta started last Monday but officials said several large parties led to the outbreak, forcing the campus closed for at least two weeks.
More than 1,360 students across all of University of Alabama’s campuses have tested positive as of Thursday, according to the school’s coronavirus dashboard.