State Education Department Issues Guidance to Reopen Schools

NEW YORK -
Stuyvesant High School in Battery Park City. (Jim.henderson)

The New York State Education Department today released guidance to help schools and school districts as they plan to reopen, whether that occurs in person, remotely, or in a combination of the two. The guidance builds on the Framework of Guidance that the Department presented to the Board of Regents on Monday, July 13.

“The guidance disseminated to schools today accounts for the health and safety of our children, teachers and school personnel,” said Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa, “While encouraging equitable access to the services and resources necessary for a high-quality education.”

“The guidance encourages community involvement and allows for flexibility so that districts and schools in every corner of the state can assess their unique situation and develop a plan that best meets the needs of their students,” said Interim Commissioner Shannon Tahoe.

Health and Safety

Schools and districts will be required to perform health checks and screenings, develop plans to maximize social distancing, and develop plans for ill persons to be sent home. They must also institute proper hand and respiratory hygiene, require face coverings, and develop disinfection procedures for the school.

In addition, schools should promote social distancing by expanding their physical footprint and by changing the way they utilize space. Schools should also continue to conform with ventilation requirements

Transportation

Each district will be required to perform regular school bus disinfection, and maintain social distancing, both by the drivers and the students, at all times.

School Schedules

Schools will have to create a comprehensive scheduling plan that includes in-person, remote or a hybrid of both in-person and remote instruction, and communicate the plans to the parents and staff in advance. For those students who will be learning remotely, adequate access to a communication devices and their use must be provided. In-person services for students with disabilities is a priority.

By July 31, all districts and schools are required to create and provide to the Department Reopening Plans at the school level. The plans should be posted on the school’s public website and must contain the mandatory elements outlined in NYSED’s School Reopening Guidance Document.