STATEN ISLAND, NY – Due to its high vaccination rate in New York City, state restrictions on the coronavirus (COVID-19) have been lifted, but students and school staff will still need to follow health precautions and security.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Tuesday that restrictions – such as social gathering limits, capacity restrictions, social distancing, cleaning and disinfection, health exams and contact details for tracing – would be lifted in circles commercial and social.
These measures are now optional for retail, food services, offices, gyms, fitness centers, hair salons, etc. Unvaccinated people should continue to wear a mask and social distancing of at least six feet, according to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
State health guidelines continue to be in effect in several settings, and this includes K-12 schools in New York City, according to CDC recommendations.
Schools should always follow active guidelines set by the state, including requiring face masks, health exams, physical distancing, using an alternate space for teaching, keeping students in cohorts, and implementing procedures cleaning and disinfection.
In outdoor environments, school districts may choose to waive their masks requirements for students. But the guidelines for using the mask indoors remain in place. The city’s Department of Education (DOE) has previously said it has no plans to lift any of its mask requirements for students at this time.
New York City children aged 2 to 5 in child care centers are not required to wear a mask, both indoors and outdoors.
However, New York City again continues to require face coverings for all public school students, regardless of age. The DOE confirmed to Advance / SILive.com that the revised state guidelines do not apply to New York City public schools and community organizations that contract with the city.
Coronavirus restrictions are still in effect for students statewide, as it provides for a full in-person return of students to schools during the 2021-2022 school year.
Cuomo announced in May that, based on the current COVID-19 trajectory, all schools in New York State will reopen for full in-person learning for the 2021-2022 school year starting in September.
“Our children have lost so much that COVID has hit our state. A year of socializing, a year of memories, and even more, ”he said in a statement. “While teachers and school administrators have done an incredible job in moving towards distance learning with virtually no notice, it is undeniable that students who did not have the right equipment faced discrimination. With the current trend in our COVID numbers, there is no reason our students should not return to in-person learning as usual and we can’t wait to welcome them again. If there is a change in the trajectory of the virus, we will reconsider the decision. “
Mayor Bill de Blasio also confirmed that New York public school students will all be returning for school in person in September and that there will be no distance option for families.
School safety protocols will continue next school year, he said, but they could be different as more people get vaccinated, the number of COVID drops and recommendations change. He also encouraged families and students to get vaccinated against the coronavirus if they are eligible.
De Blasio said these safety protocols – like health screenings, coronavirus tests and masks – will continue to be mandatory for all students in Grades 3 to 12 for the upcoming school year.
NEW YORK MAKES 70% VACCINATION
Tuesday’s announcement comes as the state has reached 70% immunization – meaning 70% of state residents have received at least one dose of the available COVID-19 vaccines. When that happened, Cuomo said “virtually all” of the restrictions would be lifted. Cuomo said the state can now come back to life as we know it.
“The state mandates that have proven to be fair and correct, and got us through this pandemic, are relaxed from today, with immediate effect,” he said.
About 61% of adults on Staten Island have now been at least partially vaccinated according to city data, placing the borough’s rate nine percentage points behind the state rate.
Vaccines are available for people 12 years of age and older.
The Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine became available for 12 to 15 year olds in the United States last month.
Moderna also announced in May that its COVID-19 vaccine was found to be 100% effective in children aged 12 to 17 two weeks after the second dose was given. In the company’s Phase 2/3 study, the vaccine was also found to be 93% effective after the first dose, Moderna said.
The Moderna vaccine, along with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, is currently available for people 18 years of age and older.
FOLLOW ANNALIZE KNUDSON ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER.