New York, Kentucky ease school restrictions, New Mexico, West Virginia start temporary school closures

On Jan. 4, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced schools could remain open in communities with 9% or greater positivity rates if positivity among students and school staff was lower than in the surrounding community. Previously, the state required schools to close in communities where the positivity rate was 9% or greater.

The same day, Kentucky’s Healthy at School guidelines became mandatory and middle and high schools were allowed to reopen for in-person instruction.

Temporary statewide school closures also began in New Mexico and West Virginia. New Mexico’s closure is effective through Jan. 15, while schools in West Virginia are closed through Jan. 18. 

The nationwide status of school closures and reopenings is as follows:

  1. Two states (N.M., W.Va.) and Washington, D.C. have state- or district-ordered school closures
  2. 2016-17 enrollment: 695,968 students (1.38% of students nationwide)
  3. Five states (Calif., Del., Hawaii, N.C., R.I.) have state-ordered regional school closures, require closures for certain grade levels, or allow hybrid instruction only
  4. 2016-17 enrollment: 8,319,164 students (16.44% of students nationwide)
  5. Four states (Ark., Fla., Iowa, Texas) have state-ordered in-person instruction
  6. 2016-17 enrollment: 9,180,918 students (18.15% of students nationwide)
  7. Thirty-nine states leave decisions to schools or districts
  8. 2016-17 enrollment: 32,391,809 students (64.03% of students nationwide)