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Cuomo gives ground rules for high school sports

Governor gives hope for fall sports

All of Cuomo's guidance will be contingent on Department of Health protocols and the approval of local officials, but practices could begin on Sept. 21 for what he called "lower-risk sports."

"The state has done a lot of research on youth sports and the guidance we've come up with is this: what's called lower-risk sports — tennis, soccer, cross country, field hockey, swimming — in all regions of the state can practice and play starting September 21," Cuomo said.

Higher-risk sports — such as football, volleyball, wrestling, rugby and ice hockey — can practice but are not yet authorized to play games.

They "cannot play until a later date or December 31st," Cuomo's office said in a news release this afternoon.

The number of new positives today, reported as of 3 p.m.: 39 in Nassau, 21 in Suffolk, 214 in New York City and 408 statewide.

The chart above shows new daily coronavirus cases confirmed in Nassau and Suffolk. Search a map and view charts showing the latest local trends in testing, hospitalizations, deaths and more.

Counties use motels to isolate homeless with coronavirus

Nassau and Suffolk counties have moved dozens of people who were homeless and infected with the coronavirus to motels in an effort to isolate them from group homes, shelters and parks to stop the virus from spreading in crowded quarters and public spaces, officials said.

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Since early March, Suffolk has moved 95 people who are homeless or needed to be quarantined into motels, and Nassau has housed a total of 75 homeless people, social services officials said. As the coronavirus swept across Long Island, officials scrambled to make the arrangements, crafting a government safety net program with little precedent — on the fly.

Nassau has housed people at a local motel designated as the county's isolation center. Suffolk has housed homeless clients with the virus at several motels in the county.

Lorraine Washburn-Baum, Nassau's deputy commissioner of the Department of Social Services, said it's not possible to house such clients in group homes or traditional shelters for families and single adults.

"There's a lot of shared space. We just couldn't have COVID spreading wildly through the entire population," Washburn-Baum said. "We had to protect everyone."

Kristina Thelwell, 32, said she and her 3-year-old daughter first entered Nassau's homeless system on May 1 and for 10 days lived in an East Meadow motel. She didn't feel secure there, and entered the motel program seeking stricter safety protocols.

"Being homeless and being exposed to COVID-19 is really a hard thing," Thelwell said. "You don't have a home to quarantine yourself into, you don't have a home to isolate yourself in. The scariest part of COVID and being homeless is being put into a shelter, especially if I have a child."

Could school nurses become the new front-line medics?

School nurse Barbara Jacobowitz said a plastic shield is going up around her desk at Drexel Avenue School in Westbury. The masks, gloves and gowns are coming in, and the school has set up a separate room for any student with symptoms that might be COVID-19.

Now she's waiting for the first kids to arrive — and the first cough.

In this new normal, school nurses could become the front-line medics against the coronavirus, standing between the children and their possible spread of the disease.

Many nurses, though, admit they worry about keeping the building population — and themselves — safe as schools prepare to reopen in September. They worry about having enough masks and gloves for themselves. They worry about situations that haven't been scripted in plans. And they worry what will happen if people in their school start getting sick.

Long Island school nurses say they expect more foot traffic through their offices, more paperwork, and more calls home to parents.

Schools are building partnerships with parents, asking them to reinforce with their children the three Ws: wear a mask, wash your hands and watch your distance, said Jacobowitz, a registered nurse.

A GOP convention like none before

The Republican National Convention this week will be like no GOP convention held before, as it is held during a pandemic that has hurt President Donald Trump's poll numbers and changed the rules of the convention.

Trump will have no raucous rally at the convention, which traditionally give nominees of both parties a bump in the polls, because of new rules to contend with the coronavirus. They include limiting delegates to six from each state and territory for a total of 336 delegates at the gathering in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Trump was formally nominated for a second term Monday. Vice President Mike Pence was also renominated.

Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) is one of Long Island's delegates participating in the convention remotely because of limits on attendance forced by the virus. He has attended seven GOP conventions.

"I hope I'm wrong, but I think it's going to be a real loss," King said of the impact of virus rules on the convention. "It's going to be more like a press conference, especially for someone like Trump. They feed off the crowd. You can see a candidate feed off the adrenaline. As sophisticated as we are, and as cynical as we are, there is nothing like human interaction … the convention is like a metaphor for the lack of interaction we are having right now."

The president will give his acceptance speech Thursday from the White House South Lawn.

LI movie theater owners feel 'abandoned'

For the first time in her life, theater owner Anne Stampfel, 60, is collecting unemployment. During the past five months of the pandemic, she and her husband, Henry, have seen virtually no income from their two shuttered theaters, the Bellmore Movies and Showcase and the Malverne Cinema and Art Center, but they're still paying rent and at least $1,200 per month in utilities.

And while other businesses have been given the green light to reopen under Gov. Cuomo's phased plan, movie theaters are still waiting their turn.

"I do feel abandoned," Stampfel said. "When he said we just weren't a priority, that was a real kick in the stomach."

With bowling alleys, museums and even gymnasiums all opened or scheduled to open, Long Island's independent cinemas say they're being left behind. Owners feel theaters have been unfairly painted as unsafe for the public even though they're working to install new safety equipment and establish health protocols. They also feel abandoned by Hollywood, which has shut down its pipeline of movies, leaving them with little to play even when a reopening does come.

Cuomo said last week that reopening movie theaters "should be next," but it's a complicated equation.

More to know

The MTA is facing criticism for a plan to add hundreds of jobs — including many at the Long Island Rail Road — while considering raising fares and laying off thousands of workers to fill a pandemic-related budget shortfall expected to reach more than $10 billion next year.

University of Hong Kong scientists claim to have the first evidence of someone being reinfected with the virus that causes COVID-19.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said New York City schools can transform playgrounds, sidewalks, shutdown streets and nearby parks into classrooms when 1.1 million students return next month.

New York registered what Cuomo called "the lowest infection rate that we have had since we started this," but he said the state is opening testing sites at two major airports to screen for the coronavirus.

Trump announced the emergency authorization of convalescent plasma for COVID-19 patients.

The Islanders changed hotels after advancing to the second round of the playoffs, which has shaken things up inside the bubble a bit.

The Mets resume their season Tuesday with a Marlins doubleheader at Citi Field, kicking off a very busy, potentially make-or-break stretch.

News for you

Dodging the dreaded "Quarantine 15" — and more. Have you actually lost weight during the pandemic? Newsday's Beth Whitehouse explains how she did it, and writes about five reasons some Long Islanders are shedding pounds.

Coming Tuesday: Geraldine Brooks talks with columnist and editorial writer Mark Chiusano for the Newsday Live Author Series. Sign up here for the 7:30 p.m. event.

Plus: Check out these 10 things you should know before returning to the gym on Long Island.

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Commentary

In reopening schools, end inequity. As New York’s schools grapple with the complexity and uncertainty of reopening amid the coronavirus, adhering to health and safety requirements is fundamental — but insufficient, Jasmine Gripper and Ian Rosenblum write in Newsday Opinion. Our strategy for school reopening must address both of what have been called the "dual public health crises" facing the country.

One is COVID-19 — which has exacerbated the preexisting inequities in our education system and society. The second is entrenched systemic racism in our public institutions — a long-standing crisis that is receiving renewed attention after the police-involved killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and so many Black men and women. Our public schools play a consequential role in addressing both.

Whatever form schooling takes — whether in the classroom, remote or a blend of the two — New York must lead in advancing anti-racist policies and practices in our education system.

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