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NYS Coronavirus Update: Deadline for School Plans -- Record Low Hospitalizations -- “Coping Circles”

Dear Fellow New Yorkers: School districts have until Friday, August 21st, to submit plans for in-person learning to the Department of Health. Currently, a number of school districts have yet to submit a plan. If they fail to meet the Friday deadline, they will not be allowed to open in person. What is the right plan for your school district? The right plan is the one in which parents and teachers have confidence. That requires a dialogue. There is no one-size-fits-all plan for NYS schools, but it is essential, and mandatory, that school districts have conversations within their communities to address all concerns. Here’s what else you need to know tonight: 1. The total number of COVID hospitalizations hit a record low. Yesterday, there were 535 total hospitalizations—the lowest since March 17th. The State conducted 54,002 tests, of which 476, or 0.88%, were positive. Sadly, we lost 2 New Yorkers to the virus. 2. If they wore masks in 1918, we can surely wear them in 2020. The Spanish Flu of 1918-20 can provide important lessons to us today. Watch the latest PSA in our “Mask Up, America” campaign here. 3. The NYS Office of Mental Health is providing a first-in-the-nation program to help New Yorkers affected by the pandemic. The program, called Coping Circles, consists of free six-week support group sessions, facilitated by volunteer licensed mental health professionals, that are available to all New Yorkers ages 18 and up. Most Circles are open to the general public but if there is demand, Specialized Circles will be available for healthcare workers and first responders, survivors of COVID-19 infections, those who have experienced job loss due to COVID-19, and those who have experienced loss of a loved one to COVID-19. New Yorkers interested in participating in a Coping Circle can learn more here. 4. Children who lost food benefits due to COVID-19 school closures can access meals through the Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) program. P-EBT benefits require no application and will be automatically issued to kids who would have received free or reduced-price meals through the federal school lunch program. Benefits should have already been issued or will be soon. If your child is eligible but your household has not received a P-EBD card and/or benefit by mid-August, call NYSOTDA at 1-833-452-0096 for more details. Tonight’s “Deep Breath Moment”: When their community in Arvada, Colorado needed masks, Giselle Williams and her husband Darin dusted off an antique sewing machine to start sewing masks. The 1922 Singer Model 66 “Red Eye” machine is a family heirloom that Giselle inherited from her great-great-grandmother. Since restoring the machine, they have used it to make nearly 500 masks that have been distributed far and wide. If you were forwarded this email, you can subscribe to New York State’s Coronavirus Updates here. Ever Upward, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

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