NY Education Department issues COVID guidelines: What to know

The state Education Department issued new COVID-19 guidelines Thursday for opening K-12 schools in New York state this fall, including recommendations for universal indoor masking, physical distancing and testing.

Much of the 21-page document is based on recently released guidance issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as the American Academy of Pediatrics.

One of the standout state-level recommendations, however, includes a call to cancel high-risk sports involving close contact or indoor extracurricular activities in communities with high levels of COVID-19 transmission, unless all participants in the sport are vaccinated against COVID-19.

Teacher Katie Galvin, right, helps her student Braydon Gonzalez with his mask at the Jesse Kaplan School in West Nyack on Friday, April 9, 2021.

More than two dozen out of 62 counties statewide qualified as high transmission as of Thursday, and dozens more could soon join the group based on federal data.

Education Commissioner Betty Rosa noted the document “provides recommendations based on the best health and safety information currently available.”

She also added it “is a living document that will be updated as public health conditions change.”

Janelle B. Smith

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