State releases guidance for reopening schools

State releases guidance for reopening schools
School illness (Source: MGN)

ALBANY, N.Y. (WWNY) - The clock is ticking for the state’s 700 school districts to develop their plans for reopening during a pandemic.

The state Department of Education released guidance Thursday. Districts have until July 31 – barely two weeks – to submit their plans to the state.

The guidelines are summarized here. The complete guidelines are here.

State officials will make a final decision the first week of August on if schools reopen. That doesn’t give much time to prepare for a school year that starts at the beginning of September.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says that schools can’t reopen if the coronavirus infection rate for a region is above 5 percent. Schools will be shut down if the rate climbs past 9 percent.

The guidelines include the usual steps for stemming the spread – mask wearing, social distancing, and disinfecting – and include how to apply them in classrooms, on buses, in cafeterias, and other places students, faculty, and staff congregate.

There’s also guidance on attendance, scheduling, maintaining students’ social well-being, and the technology needed for distance learning.

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