School districts are required to provide weekly COVID tests to teachers and staff – Featured

New York’s public school districts are required to provide teachers and staff with weekly coronavirus tests, according to new guidelines last week. (Photo courtesy of Metro Connection)

Teachers and other employees in the New York City Public School District are required to participate in weekly coronavirus tests or provide proof of full vaccination, according to new guidelines presented by Governor Kathy Hochul last week.

Hochul said the new guidelines will help prioritize in-person education, her main focus since taking office as governor last month. The emergency settlement, she said, will continue for school districts “until no longer needed.”

“My top priority is getting children back to school and protecting the environment so that they can learn and everyone is safe,” Hochul said in a statement last week. “Our children deserve to be safe and protected in schools, and I am doing everything in my power to ensure that.”

“We need to get all of our children back to school and to a safe environment that promotes healthy learning,” said state health commissioner Howard Zucker.

Hochul said the state will use $ 335 million in federal funds to launch a program that will provide coronavirus testing in all school districts. Officials said school districts are required to have the capacity to offer screening tests to all unvaccinated teachers and staff at least once a week and diagnostic tests to students, teachers or school members. personnel who have been exposed to someone who tested positive for the coronavirus.

The state Department of Health has informed districts that they are still required to provide data for the New York State School’s COVID report card, as well as to develop partnerships with health entities. local and immunization clinics as resources for students, staff and faculty. Last year, North Shore districts worked with the county health department and Northwell Health for testing, vaccinations and contact tracing.

Last month, Hochul demanded that public school districts statewide enforce mask mandates for students, staff and teachers, as well as compliance with regulations and mandates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to CDC guidelines, close contact is defined as a person who has been within six feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes in a 24-hour period, two days after the onset of illness. Anyone in close contact with an infected person should stay home for 10 days after exposure.

State officials also said districts should explore the possibility of expanding their social distancing requirements, while continuing to prioritize in-person education. CDC guidelines state that a distance of three feet is recommended between each student, with six feet being recommended when a student, teacher, or staff member is not vaccinated, regardless of the immunization status of the other. .

“As we continue to work with local school districts and local health departments, we have listened to feedback from parents, teachers and education advocates who have sought additional statewide guidance. on masks, vaccines, social distancing and testing and recommendations on challenges like school bus safety. and navigating high-risk sports and extracurricular activities, ”Zucker said.

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