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No spring break for these LI colleges

Some Long Island schools change spring break plans for student safety

Adelphi University, Hofstra University, Long Island University, St. Joseph's College, Molloy College and SUNY Stony Brook have all canceled the traditional week off that's typically scheduled for March.

Other schools are going ahead with the recess, with at least one — SUNY Farmingdale — planning a COVID-19 testing regimen for students as they return to campus.

This past March, spring-breakers were criticized after scores of young people flocked to beaches and resorts, especially in Florida, while coronavirus cases were raging across the country. Some college administrators want to avoid a repeat.

"I think it's the right thing to do — that's the bottom line," said Herman Berliner, Hofstra University’s provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. "If it wasn't for COVID-19 … we would certainly want to break, but I think they [the students] also understand that we are doing really well in the midst of a pandemic."

The number of new positives reported today: 113 in Nassau, 66 in Suffolk, 641 in New York City and 1,633 statewide.

The chart below shows the number of new cases confirmed during recent weeks in Nassau and Suffolk counties.

Search a map of cases and view more charts showing the latest local trends in testing, hospitalizations, deaths and more.

Cuomo: NY should be 'on high alert' as COVID-19 spreads across U.S.

New York continues to have a lower positivity rate for the virus than most states, but Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said the state and residents should remain "on high alert" for it as holidays and related travel raise risks.

He said COVID-19 is "all around us" and could easily spread in this state, "so we should be on high alert and we should be even more diligent, because the virus spreads and just goes across state boundaries."

Meanwhile on Long Island, with more than 135 students and staff members currently in quarantine, officials said Shoreham-Wading River High School will be closed to in-person learning through Nov. 11 and will reopen for in-person attendance on Nov. 12.

The announcement cited "the high number of instructional staff that were quarantined by the department of health last week" — but did not provide a number of students and staff affected.

Traveling to NY? Get to know the testing, quarantine rules

Out-of-state travelers must get tested for COVID-19 before coming, quarantine upon arrival and get a negative test to leave quarantine, Cuomo said Saturday.

The state has required 14-day quarantines for visitors from states with high infection levels, but with a nationwide spike in cases in almost every state, health experts advised to switch to a testing-based policy, he said. Bordering states and essential workers are exempt.

The new rules go into effect Wednesday. According to officials:

  • Visitors to New York must test negative within three days before arrival and have proof of the negative test.
  • After three days of quarantine, they can take a test on the fourth day or later and, if they’re negative, they will be released from quarantine.
  • If they don’t get a test or if they test positive, they must quarantine for 14 days.
  • If they are flying, they must fill out a form upon arrival in the state that will be sent to health departments, which may contact the visitor to verify the negative result.
  • Those arriving by road must fill out a form online.

More computers and Wi-Fi help East End students with learning

Differences in school districts and family incomes mean while some students use their own computers and Wi-Fi for hybrid learning, others are trying to do homework on a smartphone.

The East End Latino advocacy group OLA is doing its part to tackle that "digital inequity" with a second round of Chromebooks and Wi-Fi hot spots donated to local school districts. The organization recently distributed equipment, bringing the 2020 total to $1.75 million raised and 4,500 devices given to 13 local districts.

Although the Sagaponack-based Organización Latino-Americana of Eastern Long Island is primarily a Latino advocacy group, part of its mission is to build bridges to the broader East End community.

"This Chromebook initiative is one that benefits all students, whether they're Latino or not," said OLA executive director Minerva Perez. "It [OLA] is about what can we do to make our entire region safer, healthier and more active."

Officials credit contact tracing for low positivity rates

Days after a Sept. 25 party in Miller Place, Suffolk County COVID-19 investigators began noticing a pattern — one person who tested positive for the coronavirus reported attending the Sweet 16 party, and then another, and another.

That led to hundreds of phone calls to party attendees and to people with whom those who tested positive had close contact after the event — and it may have helped prevent the spread of the virus to vulnerable populations, Suffolk Health Commissioner Gregson Pigott said.

State and county officials say the labor-intensive effort to try to reach everyone in the state who tests positive, and then call hundreds of thousands of close contacts, isolating those who test positive and quarantining their contacts, has helped keep the state’s test-positivity rate among the nation’s lowest.

Between Nassau and Suffolk, there are more than 150 people who conduct COVID-19 investigations, officials said.

More to know

President Donald Trump is suggesting that he will fire Dr. Anthony Fauci after Tuesday’s election, as his rift with the nation’s top infectious disease expert widens while the nation sees its most alarming outbreak since the spring.

The number of confirmed cases in the U.S. has surpassed 9 million this past week, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Henry Schein Inc., Long Island's largest public company based on revenue, Monday posted a 13.2% sales increase for the third quarter driven by demand for PPE and other COVID-19-related products.

The Wyandanch Public Library — the only public library on Long Island that's remained closed since the shutdown — is considering setting up a mobile library.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a new lockdown for England over the weekend after the U.K. passed 1 million confirmed cases, adding that restrictions would begin Thursday and last until Dec. 2.

News for you

Getting a socially distant Thanksgiving meal. This year’s gatherings may be smaller and more local than others, but you'll still need the turkey and all the trimmings. If you're not cooking this year, try these places for a socially distanced meal (to eat in person or to get it to-go). Check out a list.

Find an escape at these spots without Wi-Fi. It's a good bet you could use a break from social media or your phone these days. Take a brief digital detox at these outdoor spots that offer peace and quiet.

Judge Judy will start streaming. Her long-running courtroom show will end production in 2021, but her next act will be with an exclusive show for IMDbTV, Amazon's free digital service.

Already thinking about 2021 MLB games? It's buyer beware. Tickets are available right now for the scheduled 2021 season, but there are no guarantees they'll be able to be used. Get more information here.

Plus: Election Day is tomorrow, and with a record number of absentee and mail-in ballots cast this year, exactly what we will know about results before going to bed is a little uncertain. Here's what we're likely to see.

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Commentary

A COVID-19 vaccine faces a major hurdle. Ferdinando Giugliano writes for Bloomberg Opinion: Amid the tragedy of the pandemic, one marvel is hiding in plain sight. The development of a working vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 is happening at breakneck speed, a triumph of ingenuity and efficiency that has few precedents.

However, even if researchers and pharmaceutical companies succeed on the scientific front, policymakers will then have to pick up the baton. Unfortunately, if the poor management of the pandemic in Europe and the U.S. is any guidance, the potential for policy failure is enormous.

The race for a vaccine remains uncertain, as no company has yet completed a large-scale randomized controlled ("Phase 3") trial to ensure safety and effectiveness. However, considering that the new coronavirus only began circulating among humans a year ago, the progress that has been achieved so far is astonishing.

Scientists from the U.K. to China to the U.S. have swiftly reoriented their existing research programs to focus on a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. Tens of new vaccine candidates are currently being tested. Pharmaceutical companies have thrown their organizational and financial weight behind these efforts. Pfizer Inc. is hopeful it will be able to announce a working vaccine as early as November.

Governments deserve credit for supporting these advances through public subsidies. But that was always going to be the easy part. The real challenge now is managing expectations amid growing anxiety and impatience. Keep reading.

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