NYSED releases COVID-19 guidance for upcoming school year

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The New York State Education Department (NYSED) Thursday released its COVID-19 guidance for the upcoming school year.

NYSED started working on COVID-19 guidance after the New York State Department of Health announced last week it wasn’t going to release guidance as it did for the 2020-21 school year.

The COVID-19 guidance NYSED released Thursday summarizes Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) guidance for K-12 schools.

NYSED is suggesting districts partner with their local public health departments and other experts to develop their policies for the school year and respond to concerns that may arise as the school year progresses.

Highlights from the guidance:

  • The CDC and AAP both recommend universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status and community transmission levels.
  • Schools should be open for in-person teaching and learning and students should be in school as long as public health officials allow it, though schools should be prepared for remote instruction in case a public health emergency is declared.
  • The NYSED will not require schools that are open for full-time, in-person instruction to provide online or remote instruction, but districts are allowed to work with individual students or families if remote learning is deemed to be in a student’s best interest.
  • The NYSED is suggesting high-risk sports and extracurricular activities should be virtual or canceled in areas of high
    community transmission unless all participants are fully vaccinated.
  • NYSED says schools should be prepared to take additional steps to reduce transmission risk should transmission levels rise.
  • NYSED is suggesting that during sports and extracurricular activities, students should follow the same school-day policies and procedures for COVID-19 at minimum.
  • NYSED is strongly encouraging districts to use COVID-19 screening testing for student-athletes, students participating in extracurricular activities or other activities with elevated risk, which it describes as activities that involve singing, shouting, band, and exercise that could lead to increased exhalation.
  • The CDC suggests layering mitigation strategies, such as masking, testing, cohorting, handwashing, staying home while sick, and other preventative measures.

Read the full guidance below:

NYSED Health and Safety Guide for the 2021 2022 School Year by News10NBC on Scribd

Some area school districts, including the Rochester City School District, Greece Central School District and Penfield Central School District have already released their reopening guidelines.