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World News

New York state may move colleges with COVID-19 spikes to remote learning - Cuomo

(Reuters) - New York will require kindergarten through 12th grade schools to disclose the number of students and staff testing positive for COVID-19 and may force colleges with more than 100 cases to switch to remote learning, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Tuesday.

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Cuomo said the regulations would provide a check on the procedures put in place by colleges and give parents transparency about testing at elementary through high schools.

“You have all your protocols. That’s nice,” Cuomo told a news conference. “If the state sees a cluster - just like colleges, just like workplaces, just like restaurants - we see a cluster in a school we are going to come in, override everything.”

Cuomo criticized the administration of New York University for not preventing a large gathering of students in nearby Washington Square Park in New York City on Saturday night, and listed several other colleges in the state that have had spikes in COVID-19 cases.

He said colleges must now report to the state’s health department when they have in excess of 100 cases, a threshold that would require a shift to remote classes unless there were extenuating circumstances.

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“Colleges across the country are seeing outbreaks,” he said. “This is going to be a problem.”

Cuomo, a Democrat, also accused Republican President Donald Trump of “trying to kill New York City” by not approving infrastructure projects and not advocating for federal aid to states to deal with the economic fallout from the pandemic.

Earlier on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Republican leaders will introduce a proposal for additional coronavirus relief on Tuesday. The proposal is expected to have a far smaller scope than the $3 trillion bill passed in the Democratic-led House of Representatives in May.

Cuomo said the president and the Senate would court economic disaster if they did not approve federal aid to states.

“If they don’t provide a response the national economy will suffer for years,” he said.

Reporting by Nathan Layne in Wilton, Connecticut; Editing by Chris Reese and Bill Berkrot

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