As coronavirus continues to surge in New York State, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is hoping kids stay in the classroom, but get tested more.

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On Monday, the Governor released his COVID-19 Winter Plan. Cuomo believes five targeted strategies will help manage and decrease the spread of COVID-19.

One of those strategies is to "Keep Schools Open Safely."

"One of the most critical aspects of managing the COVID-19 pandemic for governments and parents alike has been answering the question of how and when schools should remain open. On that point, experts from around the globe have determined that as long as a school's infection rate is under control and remains under the infection rate of the community at large, schools should remain open, particularly for students in K-8. Not only does school provide parents with support in terms of childcare, it provides a regularity to life which has been missing for so many children throughout this pandemic," Cuomo's COVID-19 Winter Plan states about keeping schools open.

Under New York's Winter Plan, efforts will be focused on keeping K-8 and Special Education schools open as long as it can be done safely, officials say.

In order to keep those schools open, the first step will be to establish sustainable, ongoing testing in schools so that they can continue operating in the long term, according to Cuomo's office.

To make sure schools stay up to date on testing students and staff, schools located in Orange and Red micro-cluster zones are now required to conduct weekly testing. Schools in Orange Zones will be required to test 20 percent of in person students, faculty and staff over the course of a month.

Schools in Red Zones will be required to test 30 percent of in person students, faculty and staff over a month. Pool testing will be allowed as well.

"These protocols represent the minimum standard required for schools to stay open and the state may adjust requirements for specific districts based on any special circumstances which may arise. While local districts are able to close at levels under the state's mandatory closure rule, they are urged to keep K-8 schools open whenever it is safe," Cuomo's COVID-19 Winter Plan states

Cuomo's COVID-19 Winter Plan does not mention anything about high schools.

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