Students return to in-person learning in former New York City red zones

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) — Students at more than 100 schools in New York City are returning to some form of in-person learning starting Monday.

Youngsters in those schools were barred from in-person learning for more than two weeks as officials imposed restrictions to curb COVID-19 spikes in several cluster zones.

But with COVID infection rates in some of those areas decreasing, the schools are allowed to welcome students back into classrooms.

RELATED: Monthly random COVID testing starts in NYC schools

Mayor Bill de Blasio says positivity rates in some of those formerly red and orange cluster zones public schools in Queens are now just 0.18 percent.

Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Catholic School in Forest Hills is one of those schools.

But while the red zone is gone in Queens, it does remain in parts of southern Brooklyn, where the infection rate remains higher than the citywide average.

45 public schools remain closed there.

ALSO READ: COVID-19 testing begins in New York City’s yellow zone schools

The Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn actually sued the state after Governor Andrew Cuomo mandated strict capacity limits on religious gatherings in the red zones.

A judge sided with the state, but with the positivity rate declining below the state’s 2 percent threshold, those former orange and red zones in Queens became yellow zones, which means fewer restrictions.

Businesses and schools there can once again reopen.

“The focus works,” Gov. Cuomo said over the weekend. “We can get the positivity rates under control, as we saw with Queens this week. We get the numbers down and we can open up. It’s just math.”

RELATED: Classrooms shut down in NYC COVID zones, parents up in arms

Click here to view the cluster maps if using the mobile app

Rules in the red area:

-Houses of worship – 25% capacity, 10 people maximum
-Mass gatherings prohibited
-Nonessential businesses closed
-Takeout dining only
-Schools closed

Rules in the orange area:

-Houses of worship – 33% capacity, 25 people maximum
-Mass gatherings – 10 people maximum, indoor and outdoor
-Businesses – Closing high risk nonessential business such as gyms and personal care
-Outdoor dining only with 4 person max per table
– Schools: remote learning only

Rules in the yellow area

-Houses of worship -50% capacity
-Mass gatherings – 25 people maximum, indoor and outdoor
-Businesses open
-Indoor and outdoor dining
-Schools – Mandatory weekly testing of students/teachers/staff for in-person classes. Testing will start next week.

Click here find out if you are in a COVID hot spot and what new restrictions apply.

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