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County Executive McCoy Announces Second-in-the-State #AlbanyCountyStaySafe Social Media Challenge

Post Date:05/19/2020 11:00 am

Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy today launched an eight-week digital challenge for teenagers who are being responsible during the COVID-19 pandemic in partnership with AT&T, the Albany Police Athletic League and New York Giants NFL running back Dion Lewis. It’s called #AlbanyCountyStaySafe powered by AT&T. County Executive McCoy is asking for younger residents to take part in weekly challenges on social media that help to raise awareness of the importance of social distancing and wearing masks out in public, staying home as much as possible, and above all else, staying safe, while still having fun.

“As regional economies begin to reopen, it’s important to remind people that we are not simply going back to business as usual. In order to keep people safe and healthy, we need to adapt to the new norm. That means we must continue to practice social distancing, wear face coverings, avoid mass gatherings and practice a level of self-isolation until we have a widely available vaccine,” said County Executive McCoy. 

“We know that even though teenagers aren’t the ones being hurt by COVID-19, they are still able to spread the virus. We also know they love their technology, and I’m thrilled to have a role model, athlete and Albany native like Dion Lewis helping us get more kids involved in these fun challenges. I want to thank AT&T, Albany PAL and Dion for being partners in this creative and smart effort that could ultimately save lives and move us forward through this crisis,” he continued. 

Each week, starting today and running through July 11, a new challenge will be posted to the County Executive’s Instagram account. The first deadline will be May 23 at 11:59pm, and at that time every following Saturday. Albany County teenagers, ages 13 through 18, are asked to post examples of creative ways to have fun and stay productive during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. That could mean doing so indoors, but could also mean outdoors while following proper social distancing and mass gathering guidelines, with the hashtag, “#AlbanyCountyStaySafe.” Only one entry per person per week may be submitted and while this will be promoted on all social media, entries with hashtags are submitted on Instagram only.

There will be twenty randomly selected winners each week who will receive $25 gift cards to local businesses from around the county. The #AlbanyCountyStaySafe Challenge will kick off with its first contest – this week’s challenge is to MOVE IT!  How are young residents staying active or exercising during the pandemic? Participants should avoid activities with groups of friends or family they don’t live with.

“Our new normal is a challenge to all of us.  I grew up in Albany and was always active in team sports from Albany Pop Warner to playing football in High School, College and now the NFL,” said Dion Lewis, New York Giants NFL running back.  “I was a PAL kid, always involved in community activities as a young teenager.  I can't imagine how hard it must be for all of the young adults out there to be at home, not play sports, not socialize in person with all of their friends.  As an athlete I find it hard not to be able to go to a gym or facility and work out.  I have come up with creative ways to achieve my workout at home.  I know the kids out there in the capital district can share some of their creative ways to keep moving, keep healthy and remain positive and safe. I am looking forward to seeing what everyone comes up with as they submit their entries.” 

“AT&T is proud to collaborate with Albany County, the Albany Police Athletic League and Dion to offer the #AlbanyCountyStaySafe program and its critical public safety messages to help keep the community safe as the warmer weather approaches and the county nears opening,” said Kristin Duffy, Director of External Affairs, AT&T. “I commend County Executive McCoy for his leadership throughout this crisis, and his ongoing work to promote the best practices necessary to halt the spread of COVID-19. AT&T has been connecting people for more than 100 years, which is why we are excited to be a part of this innovative effort to keep thousands of County youth engaged, educated, safe and, most of all, digitally connected in fun and enjoyable ways while maintaining social distancing and staying home.”
AT&T’s partnership in the #AlbanyCountyStaySafe initiative grows out of the company’s commitment to delivering resources for distance learning across the county and New York during the global pandemic and providing first responders with a reliable, highly secure, interoperable, and innovative wireless broadband network dedicated to public safety through FirstNet built by AT&T. In addition to the support for this local digital educational program, the company has created the AT&T Distance Learning and Family Connections Fund, a $10 million COVID-19 relief program launched to give parents, caregivers and teachers tools they need to help educate the estimated 47 million students learning from home in the U.S. The public safety focus of the digital initiative also aligns closely with the company’s commitment to FirstNet, America’s safety communications platform, which provides 21st century tools to public safety agencies and has been an invaluable resource for first responders on the front lines fighting COVID-19, keeping them connected and safer as they protect Americans.

“Albany PAL is proud to partner with AT&T and Albany County on this innovative initiative to reach our youth. One of the most important things area teens can do is to stay home. #AlbanyCountyStaySafe will be a great way to engage our teens with challenges while helping us to spread the word to Stay Safe. By practicing social distancing, wearing their masks, washing their hands and encouraging their peers to do the same, teens will have the opportunity to win gift cards that support local businesses”, said Lenny Ricchiuti, PAL Executive Director.

As a reminder, all Instagram posts must be tagged with “#AlbanyCountyStaySafe.” Weekly winners will be direct messaged a link to complete the winner’s form. #AlbanyCountyStaySafe is designed and implemented by the Albany Police Athletic League. All prizes and awards are funded by AT&T.

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