Schools have had to learn how to adapt – and fast – to keep up with the ongoing threat that is the pandemic. At first, they were forced to shift to a virtual format, but now each district is figuring out the right balance for their students.
Along with Chancellor of Schools, Meisha Porter, Mayor Bill De Blasio announced that the plans for the city’s COVID restrictions would dictate that masks must be worn during the school year 2022.
The decision has been that any vaccinated individual, whether adult or child, who is not symptomatic will remain in school regardless of whether they have had contact with the virus. Mayor de Blasio has further stated that people should not project last year’s model upon this year’s as the 2022 stance differs from the 2021 model as vaccinations have significantly changed conditions. For one thing, masks will not be required.
According to Mayor de Blasio, only individuals who have not been vaccinated will be quarantined if exposed to a positive case. Further, in accord with the new guidelines, testing is reduced. Rather than testing 20% of the population of New York schools weekly, only 10% will be tested twice a month. In addition, elementary school quarantines this year will last ten days for those students who have been exposed in a classroom. While these students are under quarantine, they will receive live remote instruction.
Students in middle or high school that must undergo a 10-day quarantine will be provided synchronous remote learning. These students can test out of this quarantine after completing their seventh day to prove a negative COVID test.
Those individuals who have been vaccinated and do not display any symptoms need not be quarantined after exposure. Nevertheless, they are urged to get tested three to five days after this exposure. School closings will occur only if there is any “evidence of widespread in-school transmission.
The school has plans to install purifiers in the classrooms and outside the school buildings. Exhaust fans will be used in the cafeterias of the high schools, and the cleaning protocols of before will continue. Masks must be worn by those inside and outside of DOE buildings whether or not they have been vaccinated. A school official has also stated that Schools will employ three feet of distancing wherever possible. This action, the official claims, “can be done in the majority of our classrooms.”
Because elementary students lack vaccinations, they will be tested only with parents’ consent. Meanwhile, middle and high school students will be tested, and adults will not be tested because they must be vaccinated.
Michael Mulgrew, who is the president of the United Federation of Teachers, has made the following statement:
“The city’s plans for masking, ventilation, social distancing, and testing protocols announced today will help keep students and staff safe this year. At the same time, the mayor has finally acknowledged the need for virtual instruction for medically fragile children and for those in quarantine.”