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New York State Education Department releases guidelines to reopen schools


(WBNG) -- The New York State Education Department presented its reopening guidance to the New York State Board of Regents Monday. In advance of the meeting, NYSED released a copy of its presentation.

The presentation is designed to help school districts to reopen for the fall semester, whether that means in-person, remote, or hybrid instruction.

The guidelines were designed to outline the school year by working with each community, providing assistance to local school districts because no "one size fits all".

Below is an outline of the presentation:


  • Schools must perform health checks of students and staff, and educate staff to recognize symptoms of COVID-19
  • Schools must design plans to enhance and maximize social distancing
  • Schools must isolate people with symptoms of COVID-19 until they can be sent home
  • Schools must inform people how to properly wash their hands
  • School staff and students are required to wear face coverings
  • Schools to clean and disinfect per CDC recommendations


  • School food service directors to be included in the planning process
  • All students, whether attending classes in-person or remotely, must have access to daily school meals
  • Update procedures to address health and safety guidelines
  • Ensure Child Nutrition Program requirements are met
  • Must communicate with families


  • Communicate social and emotional well-being as a priority, while ensuring academic standards are held.
  • Design a team to enhance the well-being of students, staff and their families
  • Consider extending the length of orientation and transition periods for students
  • Review and revise school counseling programs


  • Districts can expand their physical footprint and can change how they use space
  • Schools can utilize temporary classroom units
  • NYSED's Office of Facilities Planning must receive district's potential changes for fire and building code review
  • Schools must conduct fire and lockdown drills while ensuring social distancing measures are in place
  • Schools must meet minimum ventilation requirements and maintain access to safe drinking water


  • Each district must develop plan while considering it's own location and needs of its students
  • Regularly clean and disinfect school buses
  • Must train all school bus staff
  • Consider changing up bus routes
  • All students must wear masks while on the bus
  • Schools must design proper loading/unloading times and may stagger the arrival/departure schedule

The guidance also recommended or required districts to consider special education, technology and connectivity and attendance. To read the presentation, click here.

In addition to the New York State Education Department's guidance, formal guidance will be released later this week to help schools safely return to instruction in the all.


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