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COVID-19 Update: Schools closing in Ulster, Dutchess cos.; 421 total cases statewide

Mar 13, 2020 4:00 pm
Schools in Ulster and Dutchess counties will be closed for two weeks, starting Mon., Mar. 16. Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan and Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro made the announcement on March 13. Ryan said Ulster County schools "will be closed for instruction, after-school and extracurricular events, and public events.” And both he and Molinaro said school districts still may require essential staff to report as needed. Dr. Carol Smith, commissioner of the Ulster County Department of Health and Behavioral Health, said the decision is not a cause for panic, and she urged residents to continue to exercise caution. Students in the Catskill Central School District will have a half-day on Mon., Mar. 16, to give teachers time to work on contingency plans for continued learning in the event of an emergency closing. Middle school and high school students will be released at 10:30 a.m. and elementary school students will be dismissed at 11:30 a.m. The Ichabod Crane district had a similar half-day on Friday. The cable provider Spectrum said March 13, it will offer free internet access to Capital Region households that have both college and K-12 students sent home due to the coronavirus outbreak. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has now waived the state rule that all schools be in session a minimum of 180 days per academic year to be eligible for full aid. In his afternoon press conference, Cuomo reported as of March 13, the total number of confirmed cases at 421, statewide, 50 of whom are hospitalized, 18 are currently in the ICU. He said Schenectady County has its first confirmed case of coronavirus: Details on the case were not immediately available. Officials said Thursday that two people who work in the county but live elsewhere tested positive. Cuomo also announced Friday a plan to waive the seven-day waiting period to qualify for unemployment benefits. On Thursday, Cuomo announced the state would open its first drive-through coronavirus testing facility in New Rochelle, Westchester County. The facility opened Fri., Mar. 13, by appointment, first testing the New Rochelle residents already in quarantine. As of late Thursday, New Rochelle was the site of a sizable cluster, with 148 reported cases. Colorado, Connecticut, Washington and now Indiana, also have some form of drive-through testing. South Korea created a highly efficient drive-through system that allowed them to test tens of thousands of people.