Tompkins County Declares State of Emergency, Closes Schools Over COVID-19

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ITHACA, NY (WSKG) – Tompkins County Administrator Jason Molino has declared a state of emergency as a response to COVID-19. There are no confirmed cases in the county as of his announcement.

He said, as of Friday, there are 15 people in isolation who have been tested for the virus.

Dr. Luvelle Brown, Superintendent, Ithaca City School District. March 13, 2020. (Celia Clarke/WSKG Publid Radio)

Molino also announced that all Tompkins County public schools will be closed beginning on Monday through April 12th. He added the declaration makes the county eligible for any state and federal aid if necessary when they become available.

“It also allows us to provide support to our communities or municipalities as well as school districts in different ways,” Molino said.

Tompkins Public Health Director Frank Kruppa recommended to close all schools.  Kruppa explained the closures will limit close gathering of students and allow for the schools to be thoroughly cleaned.

Molino and Kruppa stated that they are working with many community organizations to try to limit the disruption of the closures.

Dr. Luvelle Brown, Superintendent for the Ithaca City School District, said that his district will continue to provide free meals for children who rely on the school for food.

“We will expand upon the summer drop off, pick up locations we’ve had before, to add additional locations,” he said. “So, we have some plans we’re going to be sharing tonight, but we are also looking to our community to help us because we need to deliver meals to folks who cannot get out.”

“Folks who cannot drive and folks who are going to need those meal services,” he added.

Over one-third of students in the Ithaca School District receive free-or-reduced meals.

Overall in Tompkins County 40 percent of all students receive free or reduced meals according to statistics from the county in 2017.