Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced summer school will be conducted through distance learning this year to help reduce the risk of spread. Meal programs and child care services for essential employees will continue. School districts must also develop a plan for students with disabilities who participate in extended summer school year programs over the summer to ensure they receive instruction. The state will make a determination on the fall semester and issue guidelines in June so schools and colleges can start to plan for a number of scenarios. K-12 schools and colleges will submit plans for approval to the state in July.
Governor Cuomo also announced the state is extending sales tax interest and penalty relief through June 22, 2020. The state previously provided relief through May 19th for returns due March 20th. This extension could provide interest and penalty relief for up to 89,000 vendors who had returns due in March. These small businesses file their taxes quarterly and annually, and have taxable receipts of less than $300,000 in the previous quarter.
The Governor also announced the state is currently investigating 157 reported cases in New York where children – predominantly school-aged – are experiencing symptoms similar to an atypical Kawasaki disease and toxic shock-like syndrome possibly due to COVID-19. The illness has taken the lives of three young New Yorkers, including a 5-year old in New York City, a 7-year old in Westchester County and a teenager in Suffolk County. To date, 13 countries and 25 other states have reported cases of this COVID-related illness in children.
Governor Cuomo also announced that Rockland County is now eligible to resume elective surgeries and ambulatory care. The Governor previously announced that the state will allow elective outpatient treatments to resume in counties and hospitals without significant risk of COVID-19 surge in the near term, and a total of 51 counties can now resume elective surgeries (4 counties do not have hospitals).
The Governor also encouraged New Yorkers to call the Coronavirus Hotline at 1-888-364-3065 if they believe their employer is not following PPE, hygiene or social distancing guidelines as more businesses begin to reopen.
The Governor also reminded New Yorkers to look out for calls from “NYS Contact Tracing” and to answer those calls as the state begins to implement its contact tracing program.
“As we focus on reopening, schools pose unique complications – they have high density and transportation issues causing a greater risk of spread unless protective measures are fully in place,” Governor Cuomo said. “Now we have another issue that is complicating the situation even further with COVID-related illness in children. We are continuing to study this new illness and learn more, but for now summer school will remain closed for in-class teaching and will be conducted through distance learning this year.”
Finally, the Governor confirmed 2,088 additional cases of novel coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 356,458 confirmed cases in New York State.