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Number of NY schools closed by COVID-19 rises

ALBANY — At least 116 schools across New York state that opened their doors to in-person learning have had to close for at least a day since the academic year began because of the spread of COVID-19, according to state data obtained by The Associated Press.

That tally excludes additional school closures in New York City, which reports data separately.

About 1 in 10 of the state’s roughly 700 school districts has had at least one school temporarily shift to online learning only, according to a list of closures reported to the New York State Education Department.

Among the districts to recently shut down schools was the Horseheads School District in the state’s Southern Tier, which has seen the number of positive COVID-19 tests shoot up since late September.

It moved to 100% remote learning Tuesday. Superintendent Thomas Douglas told parents he hoped to return to hybrid “within a few weeks.”

“We need everyone’s care and cooperation to get back to in-person education,” Douglas said in a Monday letter to parents.

Among the schools that have closed, many have had breaks in in-person learning as short as two days. School districts’ reopening plans typically call for a day or two of closure following a positive case. About two dozen districts closed for at least five days.

In northern New York, the Beekmantown district in Clinton County shuttered its schools for six to 10 days starting Sept. 21 after a second-grader tested positive.

Additionally, scores of schools in New York City, Rockland and Orange counties and Binghamton have been ordered to go to remote-learning-only for at least two weeks because they are in or near areas where COVID-19 has been spreading in the community.

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