UTICA, N.Y. -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has come out with recommendations for schools to follow. The CDC is recommending students and staff wear face coverings throughout the day. Desks should be six feet apart and facing the same direction when feasible.
Physical barriers such as sneeze guards and partitions should be used where it’s difficult to keep individuals less than six feet apart, and floors and sidewalks should be marked off with distance lines.
Students are encouraged to bring their own lunch, use disposable utensils and dishes, and remain in the classroom while they eat. Dining halls and playgrounds should remain closed if possible. Otherwise the areas should be cleaned and disinfected after each use.
While the busing guidelines are not detailed arrival and drop-off times should be staggered to minimize contact. Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente did see the CDC recommendations and believes opening schools will happen.
"We know that if we adhere to the distancing, if we use masks and the like, that activities can be conducted, and I don’t see why school is not one of those," said Picente.
The CDC recommends offering modified job responsibilities that limit exposure for staff at higher risk for severe illness. The CDC suggests a staff person like a nurse, be responsible for addressing COVID-19 concerns. All school staff and families should know who the person is and how to contact them.
These are just some of the considerations, and not meant to replace any laws, rules, or regulations that schools must comply with.
Utica School District Superintendent Bruce Karam says he hadn’t had a chance to review the CDC guidelines yet, but after speaking by phone about some of the guidelines, says most of these are going to require staffing and money that the school district just doesn’t have.
The full list of CDC recommendations can be found at: www.cdc.gov.