Federal government eases guidance on indoor mask-wearing

People on Brighton Beach Avenue in Brighton Beach on Oct. 4.

People on Brighton Beach Avenue in Brighton Beach on Oct. 4. Credit: Jeff Bachner

The indoor masks guidance that sends the country toward pre-pandemic life still calls for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters, but it will help clear the way for reopening workplaces, schools and other venues — even removing the need for masks or social distancing for those fully vaccinated.

The CDC will also no longer recommend that fully vaccinated people wear masks outdoors in crowds.

The announcement comes as the CDC and the Biden administration have faced pressure to ease restrictions on fully vaccinated people — people who are two weeks past their last required vaccine dose — in part to highlight the benefits of getting the shot. Read more on the new guidance.

If you're fully vaccinated, check this guide for more CDC guidance, current capacity guidelines in the state and more.

Plus: Long Island started vaccinations on Thursday for the newest eligible group of children ages 12 to 15.

The number of new positives reported today: 107 in Nassau, 123 in Suffolk, 855 in New York City and 2,216 statewide.

The chart below shows the cumulative percentage of Long Islanders who have been vaccinated so far.

This chart shows the percentages of Long Islanders who have...

This chart shows the percentages of Long Islanders who have received at least one dose of a vaccine and those who have been fully vaccinated.

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

The reinvention of LI's college career centers for a changing market

Arbaaz Khan, 22, works at Hofstra's career center and is...

Arbaaz Khan, 22, works at Hofstra's career center and is graduating with a master's degree in accounting. Credit: Danielle Silverman

In March 2020, Jenna Alma, 21, of Bayside had her whole summer — and her senior year at Hofstra University in Hempstead — planned out.

But the internship she had lined up was one of many canceled due to COVID-19. She got help from Hofstra’s Center for Career Design and Development, where she worked with a counselor to revise her resume to showcase her technical and research skills and get mock interview practice.

And Alma wasn't the only one scrambling to adapt to the disruption. Staff at career centers at Long Island’s colleges and universities reported they had less than a week to reconfigure how they were going to help students.

Analysis: School taxes could have lowest increase in 5 years

A classroom at the Bridgehampton School.

A classroom at the Bridgehampton School. Credit: Gordon M. Grant

School taxes across Long Island are slated to rise an average 1.38% next fiscal year — the lowest projected increase in five years and one of the lowest in a quarter-century, a Newsday analysis found.

School spending, meanwhile, will grow by an average 2.91%, to an Islandwide total of $13.75 billion, with millions of additional dollars earmarked for teacher salaries and COVID-19 protection. Spending, subject to voter approval, does not include hundreds of millions of dollars in federal stimulus money that is also going to schools in the Nassau-Suffolk region. Much of that money can be spread over three years.

Proposed budgets are up for votes Tuesday in 120 districts across the Nassau-Suffolk region, along with more than 400 candidates for school boards.

Long Islanders are starting to plan family reunions again

Rodney Ceant, right, organized a reunion of his father's side...

Rodney Ceant, right, organized a reunion of his father's side of the family in 2019. Now he's organizing an event for his mother's side of the family, planned for June. Credit: Jordan Alriche

For many families during the pandemic, time froze.

Now, with vaccines helping things to thaw, families are regrouping. For some, the reunion is with immediate extended families — parents, grandchildren, cousins.

For others, like Rodney Ceant, 35, who works in real estate management and lives in Mineola, it will involve branches of the whole family tree wearing matching reunion 2021 T-shirts. For others, like Gary and Lisa Dvoskin of Melville, both 55 and lawyers, the reunion will be with the nuclear family — it’s been 19 months since the Dvoskins have seen their only child, Regan, 25, who is living in Cambridge, England.

Read more from this story by Newsday's Beth Whitehouse about how families are starting to gather again.

More to know

Home prices soared to a new high in Nassau County and matched a previous record in Suffolk last month as low mortgage rates and scarce inventory forced buyers into bidding wars.

Hempstead Town Board members are awarding $22.7 million in rental assistance funds to middle- and low-income families struggling to pay rent during the pandemic.

The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell last week to 473,000, a new pandemic low.

The state extended the legislation that prevents utilities from shutting off services to the more than 1 million customers who are late paying their bills after the prior moratorium lapsed on March 31.

An additional four members of the Yankees' traveling party — all coaches or support staff — had tested positive for the virus as of Wednesday night.

News for you

Brandon Drucker, of Old Westbury, and Erika Stopler, of Great...

Brandon Drucker, of Old Westbury, and Erika Stopler, of Great Neck, take a picture in front of the Fire Island Lighthouse last June.   Credit: Linda Rosier

Spending the day on Fire Island. As summer approaches and pandemic protocols ease, signs are pointing to a partial return to dining and entertainment typically found across the Great South Bay. Here's what you need to know for a day on Fire Island.

Walking the city bridges. For some, it’s a route to work or a path among boroughs, but the bridges of NYC are also iconic landmarks to walk across. Here are four notable bridges to explore and things to do in the area after you walk.

Alan Alda's virtual festival. The Alan Alda Film Festival, featuring five titles hand-picked by the actor, will take place online to raise funds for the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University. It will run May 20-25.

Plus: Northport’s Patti LuPone has a message for theater fans excited about the return of Broadway. Watch the video.

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Commentary

Don't hesitate — let's all roll up our sleeves. Michael J. Dowling, president and CEO of Northwell Health, writes for Newsday Opinion: Whether it’s politics, religion, libertarianism, safety concerns or general mistrust of government, drug companies or the health-care establishment, the reluctance of Americans to get a COVID-19 vaccine threatens our ability to achieve herd immunity, put the pandemic behind us and return to normalcy.

With nearly 580,000 American lives lost to COVID, including more than 52,000 in New York, all of us have a responsibility to protect ourselves, families and others from yet another wave of the virus and its variants that could bring more deaths and hospitalizations, while also derailing our economic recovery.

Despite the backlash from anti-vaxxers who continue to disseminate misinformation, we need to be as aggressive as possible in educating the public that getting the vaccine is the only sure way of stopping this pandemic. Keep reading.