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The Department of Education released new protocols Thursday for handling any possible confirmed coronavirus cases in schools this upcoming year.
The DOE plan states that if one or more students from the same class test positive their classrooms will close and anyone who had close contact with those students should self-quarantine for 14 days.
If two or more children in the same school test positive for the virus but do not share a classroom, the entire building will close for two weeks.
If at least two cases arise in the same building but the infections occurred outside of school, the DOE will also shutter the whole building while investigating the source of the exposures.
Once the probes into those cases are completed, the school will reopen while the impacted classrooms will remain closed for two weeks. Additional students and staff will be quarantined based on where the exposure took place.
Kids who are compelled to leave classrooms because of an exposure will transition to remote learning.
“We are doing everything in our power to keep kids healthy while ensuring they are getting the education they deserve,” Mayor de Blasio said in a statement.
“These rigorous test and trace protocols will keep our students and staff safe as we start off this new school year.”
The DOE said it will encourage all school staffers to get tested in the days prior to the scheduled September 10 start of the new year and will be given priority at 34 testing sites throughout the city.
If clusters emerge, the DOE said it could take more drastic measures based on the circumstances.
The department will also require some form of documentation in order to consider a case confirmed.
“New Yorkers did the incredibly difficult work reducing the risk posed by COVID-19, and as a result we’re in a better position than any other city in the country to safely resume in-person education under the current conditions and with clear, consistent health protocols,” said Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza.
Students and teachers who feel sick will be required to stay home and are encouraged to get tested if their symptoms are consistent with the coronavirus.
Kids who feel unwell in school will be isolated and monitored by a staff member until they can be picked up, officials said.
The format has been met with stiff resistance from both the city teachers and principals union. Both groups have questioned the DOE’s logistical and safety preparedness.
Mayor de Blasio has lobbied for a blended reopening and has stressed the need to provide some scheduling relief for parents who can’t work remotely.
News – NYC DOE releases new protocols for positive COVID-19 cases in schools