NYC unveils plan to reopen coronavirus in public schools: random temperature checks, positive test policy

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NEW YORK, NY – New York City released its final reopening plan to the New York State Department of Education on Friday evening, detailing its protocols for screening students and staff before entering the school and how it will treat people who return to school after testing positive for the coronavirus.

The plan was released after Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave the green light on Friday for all schools in the state to reopen in the fall based on the state’s low rate of coronavirus infection.

The 2020-2021 school year will be very different from normal in September.

Students will already be able to return for a staggered in-person learning only two or three days a week while working remotely the rest of the week.

When students and staff arrive at school each day, they will be randomly selected for temperature checks every morning and will have to check their own temperature before going to school, according to the DOE’s plan to reopen.

Students and staff will not be allowed to go to school if they have a temperature above 100 degrees; have symptoms of coronavirus; recently tested positive for the virus; or have traveled abroad or in a state of severe infection within the last 14 days.

The Education Ministry said it would buy thermometers for any family that needs them.

If a student or staff member tests positive for the virus, they will need to self-isolate for at least 10 days and will only be able to return to school if they give permission from their doctor and show no symptoms. for 24 years. hours without the use of any medication.

The education ministry said breakfast and lunch will likely be served in classrooms to minimize contact with other groups of students.

Each school should ensure that students and staff maintain a social distance of six feet at all times.

Schools will also need to rethink travel protocols within school buildings by designating one-way stairwells, single-file routes and requiring students to stay on campus during meal times.

School staff and students will be required to wear masks throughout the day, and parents will have the option to keep their children at home for full distance learning if they wish.

The city said it would prioritize free rapid testing for COVID-19 for school staff and students and encourage them to get tested monthly, also provide them with free face covers and disinfect schools throughout. of the day.

But a positive COVID-19 test in a classroom would be enough to quarantine an entire class for two weeks, and two confirmed cases in one school would shut down the entire school for two weeks.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said schools will not be able to reopen if the community transmission rate is above 3% on a seven-day moving average, compared to the state’s 5% threshold.

Cuomo said on Friday that school districts will still be required to tell parents how they plan to deal with distance learning and coronavirus testing and testing for students and teachers and to make those plans available to the public.

He said schools will also be required to hold a series of question-and-answer sessions with parents and teachers on their plans to reopen before August 21.

Whether it’s an in-person learning model or a hybrid learning model in the fall, Cuomo said local school districts will make those decisions following strict guidelines from the Department of Health. .

The United Teachers’ Federation strongly criticized the reopening plan.

The UFT argued that New York’s plan did not meet “the safety standards our children and school staff need.”

“As Governor Cuomo noted, parents and teachers need to be sure schools are safe before they can reopen. In New York, it’s still an open question, ”UFT President Michael Mulgrew said after Cuomo’s announcement on Friday.

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