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More COVID-19 complications for schools

More Long Island schools report new cases

School closings in Farmingdale, Port Jefferson and the Longwood districts added to the string of shutdowns.

The Longwood school district said it was closing Charles E. Walters Elementary School in Yaphank for in-person instruction on Thursday and Friday after it learned a staff member tested positive. The school is undergoing sanitizing and deep cleaning procedures.

Another case surfaced in Port Washington, which had closed schools earlier in the week, but no further shutdowns were needed, school officials said. Comsewogue High School and Chaminade High School also reported cases this week.

Saltzman Memorial School in Farmingdale was closed Thursday after a student there tested positive, the school district's superintendent announced Wednesday night in a phone message to the district community. Superintendent Paul Defendini said the school is expected to reopen Friday.

Adelphi University said Thursday that five students tested positive, and 16 have been quarantined.

Statewide, the infection level Wednesday was below 1% again, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Thursday.

The number of new positives reported Thursday: 83 in Nassau, 72 in Suffolk, 333 in New York City and 896 statewide.

The chart above shows the cumulative number of people tested for the coronavirus in New York City and in the state. Search a map of cases and view more charts showing the latest local trends in testing, hospitalizations, deaths and more.

NYC schools reopening plan changes again

The physical reopening of the entire New York City public school system is being delayed once more — to as late as Oct. 1, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday.

The reopening is now to be phased in by grade level, according to de Blasio, with buildings closed to most students until beginning in late September:

  • On Monday, 3-K and prekindergarten sites and special-education schools are to open.
  • Sept. 29 will see the reopening of K-5 and K-8 buildings.
  • Middle schools and high schools will open on Oct. 1.

"It’s the hard way, but it’s the right way," de Blasio said at his daily coronavirus news briefing, adding that schools were not yet prepared, particularly regarding staffing levels.

He would not rule out further delays. The public schools in New York City are taking a "blended" approach to educating 1.1 million students — a mix of in-person and online/remote learning.

The pandemic may force Long Island to rethink land use

Downtown Farmingdale has thrived by attracting apartments and businesses to the village, but as the pandemic persists and alters housing preferences and office work, something might have to change.

Two new studies suggest that communities on Long Island may need to alter land-use permits to accommodate future residential developments, retail and work spaces. The first study provided an economic and fiscal impact analysis of Farmingdale, while the other looked at potential land-use impacts in the 36 months after COVID-19 subsides.

John Cameron, chairman of the Long Island Regional Planning Council, said he’s "cautiously optimistic" downtowns will thrive again post-pandemic.

"I think the downtowns will return, the restaurants will, but if you’re going to see new construction I think you are going to have something like commercial establishments on your first floor and residentials on the second, third and fourth," Cameron said.

State budget officials: School cuts would be announced in November

Any potential move by Albany to cut financial assistance to school districts probably would be announced in November and take into account individual districts' economic needs, officials said Wednesday.

With this latest announcement, Cuomo and his budget division moved closer to cuts in state aid, even as districts struggle with economic effects from the pandemic. On Long Island, state assistance totals $3.3 billion annually, or about 25% of school revenue.

New York State United Teachers, a union umbrella group, issued its own statement Wednesday, saying it filed a lawsuit seeking to block aid cuts. Economic pressures are triggering layoffs of teachers and other school personnel, including 54 job losses announced in Copiague this month, the union said.

Cuomo has warned for months that aid cuts of up to 20% might become inevitable should Congress not provide enough financial relief to New York and other states to make up for losses in tax revenue.

More to know

Adelphi University will lay off 62 part- and full-time employees at the end of this month due to financial struggles from the pandemic, a university spokesman said Thursday.

Nearly 500 employees in de Blasio's office — and de Blasio himself — will take five days of furlough between October and March in an effort to save $1 million from the cash-strapped municipal budget, the city said Wednesday.

U.S. jobless claims fell last week to 860,000 and 12.6 million are collecting traditional unemployment benefits, compared with just 1.7 million a year ago, the Labor Department said.

News for you

Fall traditions you can still experience this year. From u-pick apples and pumpkins to corn mazes, hay rides and haunted houses, fall activities are getting into full swing. You can continue some of those activities this year but from a safe distance. Here are some ideas.

Going contactless with your cards. Payment options like Apple Pay or QR code to tap-to-pay can be a convenient way to pay — and a safer option, reducing contact during the pandemic. And businesses are getting on board.

Get outside with a bike ride. Find scenic spots to bike along these Long Island paths during the fall (while keeping in mind COVID-19 restrictions.)

Plus: How can you vote this year? New Yorkers have three ways to vote in the general election on Nov. 3 — by absentee ballot, through early voting or in person. Learn more.

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Masks at school bus stops. Reader Laura Smith, of Holbrook, writes in a letter for Newsday Opinion: On the first day of school, we drove through the streets of Holbrook and Farmingville and saw group after group of parents and children waiting for school buses.

Normally this is a wonderful September ritual. However, almost no one was wearing a mask. We were stunned. Groups of people with no social distancing, adults or children, and hardly anyone wore a mask. A few adults and children did but, by and large, it was a small percentage.

Of course, the children each put one on as they entered the bus, but isn’t that a bit late? Parents and children should consider wearing masks at school bus stops.