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Return To In-Person Learning For Orange Zoned SCSD Uncertain Ahead Of Holiday Weekend

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Local officials are working with the state to find a way to get orange zone schools back to school in person on Monday. This includes almost all of the Syracuse City School District. Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon has made in-person a priority through the yellow, and now orange zone, designations. McMahon says instead having students transition to remote learning until all buildings are tested, they want to resume in-person instruction Monday with promise of all buildings tested by the end of the week.

“We’ve already been in a yellow zone with these schools. We’ve already got the data,” said McMahon. “We know that the positivity rate was I think .5 or .6 for the city school district. Over 3,000 tests done. So we already have a lot of data. We already know it’s a safe place.”

If the state does not allow for that plan, McMahon said SCSD will open and test 8 schools per day for in-person learning. Superintendent Jaime Alicea will determine which 8 school each day. The orange zone has also halted indoor dining for restaurants within its boundaries. McMahon said in order to lift restrictions, health data needs to get better. However, many predict the holiday weekend will not help.

“We need to do the right things. Everybody’s got big decisions to make in the next 48 hours here. Dr. Gupta is very concerned about what’s going to happen. We’ve heard from the Governor, predicting very, very large spikes. We’ve heard from other’s predicting large spikes,” said McMahon. “I’m going to be the optimist in the room, and I’m going to predict that we are going to respond well and modify the decisions that we’re making.”

Onondaga County reported 495 cases over the last 36 hours between Tuesday and Wednesday. 119 people are in the hospital from the virus, with 26 people in the ICU, and 3 people died from the virus.