Gov. Cuomo left an enormous loophole in his lockdown of COVID-19 “sizzling zones” by letting youngsters and adults who reside within the closed communities attend or work in colleges elsewhere, frightened academics say.
“You’re simply as contagious whether or not you will college in that zone or outdoors that zone,” Queens instructor Rob Roszkowski informed The Publish.
Hundreds of teenagers attend excessive colleges throughout town, taking mass transit. College students with disabilities are bused to District 75 colleges or packages outdoors their neighborhoods — and infrequently have difficulties sporting masks.
The state-designated “Pink Zones” are residence to 2.eight% of the state inhabitants, however had 11.9% of all optimistic check outcomes reported to the state final week, officers mentioned. They embody Far Rockaway, Kew Gardens, Borough Park, Gravesend, Midwood, Bensonhurst and Sheepshead Bay.
Cuomo has threatened to withhold state funding for any colleges caught working within the crimson zones, after studies that Orthodox yeshivas have been nonetheless filled with college students.
Jonah Bruno, a state Division of Well being spokesman, confirmed that college students and adults within the lockdown zones — the place colleges should swap to totally distant instruction — can attend or work in colleges elsewhere. “DOH has not imposed any motion restrictions on folks residing in crimson zones. All folks ought to proceed following COVID prevention measures, together with sporting a masks and social distancing,” he mentioned.
Bruno refused to clarify the stance or deal with the dangers.
Requested concerning the coverage at a current press convention, Mayor de Blasio mentioned town will monitor whether or not it causes COVID-19 to unfold.
“We’re clearly going to look at fastidiously to see if folks shifting round from group to group is having an impact, however to this point, we don’t see that occuring on a large scale,” he mentioned.
Dr. Jay Varma, the mayor’s senior advisor for public well being, added, “It turns into a query … whether or not or not we have to prohibit the motion of individuals in or out of these areas, and that presents actually essential human rights concerns.”
Even on the peak of the outbreak, he mentioned, the state didn’t prohibit motion of individuals inside New York.
However motion from outdoors the state is one other matter. The state presently mandates that everybody coming back from 38 “restricted states” — ones with widespread COVID-19 transmission — fill out a journey type and quarantine for 14 days.
Workers working in all metropolis DOE colleges should fill out a every day well being screening which asks, amongst different questions, whether or not they lately traveled to any of these states.
The survey doesn’t ask whether or not they got here from one in every of NYC’s crimson, orange or yellow zones.
Queens instructor Roszkowski blasted town’s “wait-and-see” coverage.
“The lives of scholars and workers should matter greater than the mayor’s social experiment,” he mentioned. “As a devoted instructor, I’m appalled that the security of my college students, in addition to myself and my colleagues, has frequently been jeopardized by this method.”