New York State has introduced a new tool for parents and educators to alleviate any concerns they may have about returning to in-person education amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
New York Gov Andrew Cuomo announced that the state is adding new, more detailed data for individual schools and school districts to its COVID-19 “Schools Report Card” that will now include information from the labs doing testing for the virus around the state.
During a COVID-19 briefing in Manhattan on Thursday, Sept. 24, Cuomo said that every 24 hours, both school districts and labs will have to provide the state Department of Health with information regarding the number of tests administered to school children, which will then be posted on the Report Card.
“Any parent or teacher who wants to know how your school district or your school is doing compared to others, then you can go to this website to find out,” Cuomo said. “If you’re a nervous parent like almost every parent I know, being anxious about your kid going back to school is not an unintelligent response.
“But anxiety can be rational, people just want the information, and this will give them the information.”
Gareth Rhodes, the Deputy Superintendent & Special Counsel of the New York State Department of Financial Services and a member of New York's COVID-19 Response Task Force, said that they will be sharing data collected during daily surveys from school districts, as well as information from every lab licensed in the state for those tested between the ages of 5 and 17 years old.
“So now we’re adding the data from the labs to the school report cards that match the address of the individual with the school district they live,” he said. “The data from the labs and data from school surveys aren’t always going to match up perfectly … sometimes there will be some lag.
“But our goal is to give full transparency for parents,” he continued. “And if the school districts don’t report it, the report will now have it from the labs.”
Cuomo said that by making a wide array of information available from multiple sources, it will allow parents to see how their child’s school is doing compared to nearby districts.
“There’s a lot of theories out there, a lot of speculation out there, and anxiety (about returning to school),” he said. “What I like about this is you’re going to have the facts. You’re going to have the numbers.
“You’ll see how many were positive today … how many were positive tomorrow, and you’ll have the facts and you can watch your school versus other schools and you’ll know (if your district’s) plans are being implemented, and if they’re not, the state will step in.”
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