NY will ease COVID rules for schools: ‘We’ve been through that experiment,’ Hochul says
New York state will end many of its COVID-19 rules for schools this academic year, including random testing for students, Gov. Kathy Hochul said Monday.
As kids get ready to return to classrooms in the coming weeks, the governor said the state is updating its guidance to reflect that of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recently eased its guidelines.
The state health and education departments will be sending letters to local districts to reinforce their support for the new CDC guidance.
“The big news is no more quarantining, no more ‘Test to Stay,’ and the days of sending an entire classroom home because one person was symptomatic or tested positive—those days are over,” Hochul said. “We’ve been through that experiment.”
The governor said the state is “still dealing with the fallout” of having kids learning from home for months at a time, including mental health challenges like depression.
The state will no longer recommend students and teachers quarantine if they’ve been exposed to the virus. If they don’t have symptoms, they can stay in school and wear a mask for 7 to 10 days.
The state’s guidance will still include:
- Wear a mask if you’re exposed to COVID-19
- If you feel sick, take a COVID-19 TEST
- If you test positive for COVID-19, stay home for five days; return with a mask when symptoms resolve
- Schools can choose testing for “close contact” activities, like choir and wrestling
Hochul said the state still encourages that students get vaccinated against COVID-19, and it has again launched its “Vax to School” campaign.
The state will distribute one test kit per child to start the year, with schools allowed to request additional kits. The state has some 14.5 million test kits in its inventory and recently procured another 6 million, the governor said.