Every New York City school will have an isolation room for students with coronavirus symptoms and a positive test for the virus will trigger a classroom shutdown under a back-to-school plan for the nation’s largest public school system.
If there is a single confirmed case, the entire classroom will self-quarantine for 14 days under the plan released by Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday. If there are two confirmed cases in different classes, the entire school building will shut down and move to online-only instruction while contact tracers investigate.
“We are doing everything in our power to keep kids healthy while ensuring they are getting the education they deserve,” de Blasio said in a news release. “These rigorous test and trace protocols will keep our students and staff safe as we start off this new school year.”
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said it is up to him to decide whether any of the state’s 700 school districts can open in September at all. Friday is the deadline for districts including New York City’s to submit their reopening plans to the state.
De Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza previously announced a hybrid reopening plan with most students spending two or three days a week in physical classrooms and learning remotely the rest of the time.
Face coverings and social distancing will be required under the plan, and school buildings will be cleaned throughout the day and disinfected at night. School staff will have priority access to free COVID-19 testing with expedited results, officials said.