Onondaga Co. Exec. negotiating with state on ‘orange zone’ business restrictions and school testing

Coronavirus

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Heading into the Thanksgiving weekend, Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon has some offers before the Governor’s Office in regards to what schools in the “orange zone” can open on Monday and how to reopen some small businesses.

The “orange zone” restrictions require schools within it to close for cleaning and every student needs to be tested before being allowed to attend.

At his regular briefing Wednesday, McMahon says he hopes New York State will allow all schools in the “orange zone” to reopen in-person Monday, with his promise that the county will test each student and teacher by the end of the school week.

Most of the schools affected are in the Syracuse City School District.

McMahon says the county has the staffing to test eight school buildings per day.

If the state rejects his offer, the Syracuse City School District will test and reopen eight buildings per day. The rest will have students learning online until returning in person.

Late Friday, the district decided the testing will begin with elementary schools in zip codes with the highest infection rate and those in close proximity to them: Delaware Primary, Bellevue, Porter, Seymour Dual Language Academy, Franklin, Montessori at LeMoyne, STEAM at Dr. King and Webster.

Those schools, along with McCarthy at Beard, Corcoran and Roberts, not in the “orange zone” will be open for in-person learning Monday.

McMahon and Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh are working with the Governor’s Office to reopen some of the businesses that were shut down with the newest restrictions, including hair salons, restaurant dining rooms, and gyms.

McMahon wouldn’t say what specific strategies he suggested to the state, but rapid testing of workers will likely be part of the plan.

McMahon says he thinks the state is seriously considering his ideas to reopen the businesses, admitting he hasn’t always felt that way.


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