Schools in areas of New York City located in "hot spots" of increasing coronavirus cases will close on Tuesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo said at a news conference on Monday.
The move will affect both public and private schools.
At the same time, Cuomo also urged local religious leaders to enforce pandemic safety guidelines like mask wearing and limiting crowd sizes or the state may close religious institutions. Cuomo said he again plans to meet with Orthodox Jewish community leaders to discuss the situation.
New York's statewide COVID positive rate stands at 1.22 percent over the last 24 hours. New York is closely monitoring 20 zip codes where there are rising COVID rates. In those areas -- parts of Brooklyn, Queens and the Hudson Valley -- the positive rate is at 5.5 percent, Cuoomo said.
Schools in Rockland and Orange counties may also close due to the COVID case increase, though no decision has been made.
For now, the state is using zip codes to track the COVID cases. That may change as officials work with public health experts to draw more precise boundaries.
The move comes after Mayor Bill de Blasio on Sunday proposed closing schools in those areas due to the case increase.
“Better safe than sorry," Cuomo said. "I would not send my child to a school in a hot spot cluster that has not been tested.”
New York state will begin direct enforcement of pandemic rules in the cluster areas with aid from local personnel.
Nationally and across the globe, coronavirus rates are increasing. Cuomo's concern, he said, was to "stamp out the embers" before the increases turn into a statewide second spike after a summertime lull in the virus's spread.
"We always knew the fall would be perilous," Cuomo said.