Guidelines for reopening higher education released by the Governor’s Office

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ALBANY, N.Y. (WSYR/WIVB) — On Monday, the Governor’s Office released higher education guidelines. The guidelines are meant to help higher education institutions plan to reopen and operate during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The five-page document, which includes 20 mandatory and 29 recommended best practices, is meant to guide institutions who will soon be required to submit their own reopening and operating plans. Colleges, universities, and other higher education institutions are included in New York State’s Phase Four of opening.

According to the Governor’s Office, the guidelines are intended for all types of in-person higher education, including, but not limited to, community and junior colleges, universities, graduate and professional schools, medical schools, and technical schools.

The guidelines are broken into categories with guidance for physical distancing, protective equipment, hygiene, cleaning and disinfection, communication, and screening.

The document clarifies that despite these recommendations, the guidance should not replace existing applicable local, state, and federal regulations or standards.

Several guidelines may require changes to on-campus housing and other campus building, such as the reconfiguration of classrooms and bathrooms.

For physical distancing, the guidelines say students—outside of assigned rooms with roommates—must wear a face-covering within 6 feet of another person. Face masks need to be worn whenever social distancing is difficult, like in common rooms, elevators, traveling around campus, and entering or leaving classrooms.

Institutions must give face coverings to employees who directly interact with students or the public at work. They also have to train employees on the use of personal protective equipment, and put in place plans to limit the sharing of objects, and clean according to CDC guidelines. Regular cleanings of shared bathroom spaces are also to be ensured by the institution, per the document.

Screening is the largest category, with six mandatory and nine recommended best practices, plus calls for employees reporting to work on-campus to be screened for COVID-19 on a daily basis.

Read the full list of guidelines:


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