Governor Andrew Cuomo touted the state’s COVID-19 report card dashboard on Thursday as an easy way for anxious New York parents to find out the number of positive cases of the virus reported in their children’s school.
But parents in the state’s largest school district — New York City, which serves over 1 million students — will continue to be left in the dark on COVID cases.
Data on COVID-19 in New York City schools is missing from the state Department of Health-run website even as the city Department of Education reported at least one case of the virus in 100 school buildings so far.
That’s because the state does not consider New York City public schools to be open, even though teachers and school staffers returned to buildings to prepare for hybrid learning on Sept. 8, and thousands of students have already begun remote instruction.
Even though the dashboard launched a week ago, the city only began reporting school COVID data to the state on Thursday, according to a City Hall spokesperson.
“As NYC K-12 schools are not open for instruction, other than special education programs, there is only data on special ed programs in NYC on the dashboard,” said spokesperson for the state Department of Health Jill Montag. “The dashboard only includes school districts that are open.”
About 90,000 pre-K, 3-K and children at District 75 schools, which serve the city’s most disabled students, returned to classrooms on Monday, Sept. 21. Over 500,000 more students are expected to return to school buildings for part of the week when K-5 and K-8 reopen on Sept. 29 and middle schools and high schools reopen on Oct. 1, according to the most recent Department of Education data.
The state dashboard collects two sets of data every day, one being from daily school surveys on the virus sent to the Department of Health and the other from state-licensed labs. Users can type in the name of their school or school district to find the number of positive cases by date of students and staff, by number of students and staff on-site, the total number of positive cases and the state’s daily COVID numbers.
Health department officials confirmed that COVID positive cases on reported on the report card website included enrolled students as well as working teachers or staff who are in buildings or on school grounds for in-person learning, hybrid or extracurricular activities.