Department of Education provides guidance for schools submitting reopening plans

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Des Moines Public Schools custodian Cynthia Adams cleans a desk in a classroom at Brubaker Elementary School, Wednesday, July 8, 2020, in Des Moines, Iowa. The cost of bringing students back to classrooms is proving a major stumbling block to safely reopening schools across the U.S. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

ALBANY, N.Y. (WSYR) — Ahead of the July 31 deadline for school districts to submit reopening plans, the New York State Department of Education on Thursday released guidance for schools to follow.

The detailed guidance covers the following topics:

  • Health and Safety
  • Facilities
  • Nutrition
  • Transportation
  • Social-Emotional Well-Being
  • School Schedules
  • Budget and Fiscal
  • Attendance
  • Technology and Connectivity
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Special Education
  • Bilingual Education and World Languages
  • Staffing and Human Resources

“Working with students, parents, educators, and stakeholders, the Board of Regents and the Department have developed a guidance document that will help schools as they prepare their respective reopening plans, “ said Interim Commissioner Shannon Tahoe.

Some of the highlights regarding safety in the document include health screenings for students and staff, wearing appropriate face coverings, and having proper disinfecting and cleaning procedures in place.

According to the guidelines released, there won’t be any major changes regarding transportation to and from school. Face coverings will be required by students and bus drivers, students will have to socially distance themselves, school districts are still required to provide transportation for students and buses will have to be disinfected regularly.

As far as scheduling is concerned, school districts will need to have plans in place for in-person, remote, and hybrid learning. The guidance says school districts may also want to consider staggering schedules that alternate when their students are on campus.

The final decision on if schools will reopen for in-person learning is scheduled to be made during the first week of August. Governor Cuomo said on Monday the decision will be based on a region’s 14-day average infection rate. The governor said if a region has an average infection rate below five percent, they will be allowed to reopen.

School districts have until July 31 to submit their reopening plans to the state for review.

Take a look at the full guidelines released by the New York State Health Department on Thursday:


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