Dept. of Education Finally Issues Needed COVID-19 Back to School Guidance
New York State's Department of Education has now done what the state's Department of Health decided not to do: issue guidance for schools to return in person in September. The news comes as districts are scrambling to set policy by interpreting CDC guidelines which were issued on August 1.
SED basically followed CDC guidelines, recommending face coverings for all students, faculty and guests whether or not they're vaccinated, social distancing and protocol for testing and positive COVID cases.
“The Department’s health and safety guide is a concise resource that will assist districts as they mitigate risks to the health and safety of students, teachers, and school staff while providing flexibility for schools to address their own unique circumstances in a manner that best meets the needs of all students,” said Chancellor Lester W. Young. "Our hope is that this guide, coupled with the input of local health officials will help the state’s education community as they prepare for September,” he said.
The safety guide also addressed improved ventilation at school facilities, along with cleaning and disinfecting classrooms. SED did recommend that students be taught in person for the 2021-22 school year.
The guidance also recommended that schools in highly concentrated infection regions in the state cancel high-contact sports such as football and wrestling. High contact extra-curricular activities should also be canceled, according to the report.
Schools have been urging the state to issue guidance for several weeks. Last week, the NYS Department of Health announced it would not issue guidance to schools.