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Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday formally gave schools the green light to reopen, saying the coronavirus infection rate was low enough in New York for students to return to class in the coming weeks.

But students and staff will have a very different experience at schools this year, with new precautions in place to prevent the disease from spreading.

"By our infection rates, all school districts can open everywhere in the state,” Cuomo said. “Every region is below the threshold we established."

Max Schulte / WXXI News

Even with record-high temperatures this week, residents won't get relief through the city of Rochester’s Cool Sweep program.

The program, which allows for extra hours at spray parks, swimming pools, and air-conditioned spaces like city recreation centers and libraries, is canceled for at least the next several weeks.

City spokesperson Justin Roj said the program conflicts with social distancing guidelines during the coronavirus pandemic.

WXXI News and Step by Step Developmental Services

 

India Hedman’s daughter, Kaia, is sleeping. It’s Wednesday afternoon, and the 14-month-old is down for a nap.

Hedman picks her up out of her crib. Kaia’s head lolls against her mom’s shoulder. Her eyes stay closed.

“When she sleeps, she sleeps,” Hedman said.

Brett Dahlberg / WXXI News

Monroe County will dispatch law enforcement officers to gatherings that violate New York’s social distancing guidelines, County Executive Adam Bello said at a news conference Monday.

But he said the aim is first to educate people about the importance of the rules, and he plans to penalize only repeat offenders.

James Brown / / WXXI News

All RTS rides will be free starting Friday until further notice. CEO Bill Carpenter said that'll limit the amount of times the fare box is touched during the coronavirus outbreak. 

An RTS employee tested positive for COVID-19 this week, but Carpenter says this decision is unrelated.

Brenda Cohen

 

  

Calls to Willow’s domestic violence hotline spiked on Friday and again on Monday. Over 40 calls came in Monday. That’s more than double the usual rate.

Meaghan de Chateauvieux with Willow Domestic Violence Center says she believes there is a strong correlation between those calls and concerns of having to stay home. 

She says her team is working to adjust to new demands to help survivors of domestic abuse amid concerns of a pandemic.

With experts recommending social distancing as an effective way to slow the spread of the coronavirus, many people, including the elderly and immunocompromised, might be staying in their homes for extended periods of time. What can we do to prevent loneliness and help them stay connected and included in society?

We're joined by experts who answer your questions. Our guests:

  • Dr. Eric Caine, M.D., former chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center
  • Sara Hopkins, licensed clinical social worker and program manager at Rochester Regional Health
  • Ann Marie Cook, president and CEO of Lifespan of Greater Rochester
  • Dr. Yeates Conwell, M.D., professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center