SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The Governor’s Office and the State Health Department made it clear, neither will be issuing back-to-school guidance for the 2021-2022 school year.
After publicly blasting that decision last week, the New York State Education Department (NYSED) is going a step further and issuing its own guidance this year.
On Tuesday, NYSED’s commissioner, Betty Rosa, sent a letter to all New York superintendents, principals, charter school leaders and nonpublic school leaders about forthcoming back to school health and safety guidelines that will be provided by the education department.
“This is necessary in light of the continued absence of health-related school opening direction and assistance from the Governor’s Office and State Health Department,” Commissioner Rosa explained in the letter.
She went on to say that the State Education Department is currently in the process of developing a summary guidance document to assist schools and districts as they prepare for the start of school in just a few weeks.
Because NYSED does not have jurisdiction over public health matters, this guidance won’t include any mandates or requirements, only suggestions.
NYSED does not have oversight authority for schools. Ultimately, each school district will have the choice to adopt, change or revise any suggested guidance provided.
The commissioner says NYSED’s summary guidance document will be based on the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics’ current K-12 guidance.
As of Wednesday, August 11, the CDC recommends universal masking indoors for all teachers, staff, students and visitors to all K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status. The organization also suggests schools maintain at least 3 feet of physical distance in between students, and conduct screening, testing and contact tracing when necessary.
Commissioner Rosa says the education department’s forthcoming guidance will address questions on the following topics…
- Mask wearing
- Social distancing
- Remote Learning
- Tracking community spread
- Potential funding sources to assist schools and districts
The overall goal for the 2021-2022 school year is to maximize in-person teaching and learning, be responsive to student needs, and keep students and staff healthy and safe. The Department is committed to advocating for all the resources necessary to make this happen and mobilizing technical assistance to school districts as they address these issues locally, consistent with CDC guidelines.Betty Rosa, Commissioner of New York State Education Department
You can read the Commissioner’s entire letter below.