ALBANY, N.Y. (UPDATED) – On Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the initial criteria schools must meet to reopen this fall.
He said schools in regions that are in Phase 4, with a daily infection rate 5% or lower over a 14-day average, can reopen.
Schools will remain closed in regions where infection rates are greater than 9% over a 7-day average after Aug. 1. Cuomo says this kind of spike in the infection rate would pose too much of a risk to reopen schools in those areas.
We all want schools to open but it has to be safe. In NY we will decide based on the data.
Schools will reopen if a region is in Phase 4 & daily infection rate remains below 5% (14-day avg).
Schools close if regional infection rate is greater than 9% (7-day avg) after August 1.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) July 13, 2020
The Reimagine Education Advisory Council has been meeting to develop guidance for schools as they prepare to reopen.
The council has come up with the following guiding principles for schools to follow when making their reopening plans:
- Districts must develop flexible plans
- Enact safeguards to protect the health of students and employees, using masks and social distancing.
- Prioritize in-classroom instruction, specifically for students who need it the most.
- Maximize use of available space in school as well as in community to expand in-class instruction.
- Focus on arts, career & technical education, labs and other areas that are better for in-person instruction.
- Utilize innovative models such as community schools.
- Establish best practices for hybrid and remote learning, and share best practices with other districts.
The updated recommendations released by the Department of Education today, include:
- Face masks or coverings are highly recommended, except for meals and classroom instruction.
- Social distancing in classrooms and on school buses
- Also serve meals in classrooms if social distancing is not possible in cafeteria alone
- Develop plan for before and after school care.
- Students and staff should undergo daily screening, including temperature checks
- Schools should notify Department of Health of any cases
- Schools should participate in contact tracing program
- Infected or exposed areas must be disinfected
- Schools must work with local health departments on closing class, areas or buildings where infected people may have been.
See the full guidance issued by New York State below.