ALBANY (TNS) — School districts in New York will soon be required to start reporting statistics on teacher vaccinations to the state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday.
The data will help the state craft policy on reopening buildings for more in-person learning, he said.
Cuomo said he understands teachers’ health concerns about ramping up in-person learning while the COVID-19 pandemic continues. But if enough of them have already received a vaccine, that concern is eliminated.
“There is damage being done to children with remote learning. You’re going to find mental stress for children who have been home. You’ll see emotional issues because children have been home,” Cuomo said. “We want to open schools.
“If teachers are vaccinated, that should remove the main obstacle to in-classroom teaching. Let’s find out where we are and get some facts so we can determine a policy going forward.”
Keeping schools remote also holds down the economy since it disrupts parents’ ability to work, he added.
Cuomo said he wants to know how many teachers have been vaccinated and how many are currently doing in-classroom teaching.
Districts will be asked for data weekly starting this Wednesday, Cuomo said.
Cuomo said last week he’d like to see schools in New York reopen for in-person learning five days a week.
Schools across the state have been operating a variety of learning schedules since the academic year began in September. Many run a hybrid model, with different groups of students attending a portion of each week and then learning remotely the rest of the time.
Some districts have been fully remote since March.
Cuomo said last week he respects local governments and their role in running districts, but he made clear he wants to see kids back in classrooms.
MEANWHILE, another 89 people in New York died due to COVID-19 on Sunday, the second straight day new deaths stayed below 100.
New deaths per day have declined since spiking over 200 on Jan. 13, but remain much higher than the frequent single-digit totals seen in the summer and early fall.
The statewide death toll was 37,941 as of Sunday.
A total of 5,804 people were in New York hospitals with the coronavirus, up 40. Hospitalizations have been declining since soaring over 9,000 at times in January and are down 819 over the last week, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office.
A total of 1,148 people were in New York intensive care units with the virus yesterday, down 14, and 780 were intubated, also down 14.
The statewide percentage of people testing positive for the virus on Sunday was 4.33%. The statewide positive rate’s seven-day average was 3.52% on Sunday, compared with 3.44% Saturday and 3.53% Friday.
In Western New York, the seven-day average for positivity in testing was 2.47% on Sunday, up from Saturday’s 2.28% but down from Friday’s 2.87%.
New York confirmed 6,146 new cases of the virus on Sunday and reported another 142,019 test results. The state has now had 1,584,931 confirmed COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began.