NEW YORK (PIX11) — With just weeks to go before students and teachers head back to New York City classrooms, the Department of Education released COVID guidelines for the upcoming academic year on Tuesday.
While vaccination is required for DOE employees, visitors to school buildings and students who participate in high-risk extracurricular activities, it is encouraged for those six months and older. Daily health screeners are no longer required to enter schools.
Masks are only required under some circumstances. While the DOE strongly recommends their use, they’re only required for students and employees returning to school after a positive COVID diagnosis. Those individuals need to wear them on days six through 10 after the onset of symptoms or the date of a positive test. Masks are also needed in nurse’s offices. People showing symptoms of COVID while at school also need to mask up.
Two air purifiers will be required in each classroom. There will also be routine cleaning.
Schools will only close when there’s “widespread transmission” in a school, as determined by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
The DOE won’t do in-school PCR testing. Instead, students and staff members will be given four tests to take home each month.
A spokesperson for the union representing teachers said the response to COVID needs to change as COVID changes.
“While the distribution of at-home tests has been reduced, the DOE has assured us that additional at-home tests will be available for any schools that need them,” a spokesperson said. “We also urge parents to make sure that they and all eligible children receive vaccines and boosters.”