Public and private schools can officially reopen for in-person education. Here’s what you need to know.
Update 8/7/2020: As all regions of the state have maintained infection and transmission rates below the limits set below, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced today that all public and private schools may resume in-person education.
Every region is well below our COVID infection limit, therefore all school districts are authorized to open.
If the infection rate spikes, the guidance will change accordingly.
School districts are required to submit plans to NYS for review.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) August 7, 2020
Conditionally, all schools must post their plans for remote learning and testing/tracing plans online for the public, set dates for 3-5 public discussion sessions with the community and parents, and set at least one separate discussion just for teachers. Additionally, all students will be required to wear masks when not social distancing and will be provided with masks if they do not have one.
On Monday night, July 13, Governor Cuomo’s office released a 23-page document outlining guidance for school districts to reopen K-12 facilities in New York State. The guidelines are to be used as a rubric for districts and private schools as they plan their in-person fall semesters. Still, it’s a lot of information to wade through, so here’s what you need to know.
New York State schools will be allowed to reopen if their region has entered Phase Four of the state’s tiered reopening strategy and if the daily infection rate in that region (averaged over a two-week period) does not exceed 5%.
After August 1, however, schools will re-close if the region’s infection rate rises above a seven-day average of 9%.
All reopening plans must include set plans to address student and faculty capacity, face coverings and other PPE usage, social distancing practices, before and after school activities, cleanliness, transportation, the continuation of breakfast and lunch programs, mental health support, COVID-19 screening and testing, containment and tracing of infections, and plans for possible re-closure.
In addition to the minimum requirements for education and food service under Phase Four reopening instructions, all schools MUST:
Additionally, the following are highly suggested:
Districts and private schools had previously been ordered to begin planning for returned fall semester. With these new guidelines in place, schools must submit their comprehensive and finalized reopening plans to the state by July 31. To read the full details, requirements, and suggestions from New York State, click here.