KIRYAS JOEL, NY — Schools in Kiryas Joel will be required to stay closed for an extended period of time as ordered by the Orange County Department of Health due to the spike in new coronavirus cases.
Dr. Irina Gelman, Orange County commissioner of health, said Monday in a statement provided to Patch, that the extended closure affects private schools in the town of Palm Tree and not the public school. No reopening date was given.
She said the rationale behind the decision was because the private schools’ testing data was not reported to the county nor was it reported to the state dashboard.
Additionally, Gelman said many of the private schools did not close when ordered to and, thus, allowed the virus to spread. Also, when inspected or audited, the schools were out of compliance with the commissioner’s order for masking and social distancing.
She said the public school in Palm Tree was not subject to the continued closure orders because they are doing what is required.
Gelman said she has asked the state to require doctors to report the daily number of patients with clinical presentation of symptoms who have declined to be tested for the new coronavirus.
“The data is only valid when it is accurately reported and if people are being tested,” she said.
Gelman said the county health department received reports from doctors recommending tests for patients who showed symptoms for the virus in the Palm Tree and Monroe area where patients refused to have a test administered.
“This is all in compliance with the governor’s continued order to address non-compliant behavior in areas of high prevalence of this communicable disease,” Gelman said.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered schools and nonessential businesses closed in areas categorized as “red zones” in Orange County two weeks ago. Houses of worship were also restricted to limited attendance under those orders.
This article originally appeared on the Mid Hudson Valley Patch