Staying Healthy While at School. Please read carefully, this information is very important.
Vaccination is currently the leading public health prevention strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic. People who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are at low risk of symptomatic or severe infection.
Currently, people 12 years and older are eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations. Schools can promote vaccinations among teachers, staff, families, and eligible students by providing information about COVID-19 vaccination, encouraging vaccine trust and confidence, and establishing supportive policies and practices that make getting vaccinated as easy and convenient as possible.
In partnership with the DOHMH, the NYCDOE is emphasizing the use of multiple layers of protection against COVID-19 and encouraging those who are eligible to get vaccinated. Strategies to prevent the spread of COVID-19 include:
Following CDC and NYSED guidance, schools should provide a minimum of three feet of physical distancing, where possible. Both the CDC and NYSED emphasize that physical distancing requirements should not prevent students from fully returning to school this year.
Three feet distancing is not required for passing between classes and in some elevators. For schools where an elevator is required in order to get into the school, three feet distancing is not required, but all individuals in the elevator must properly wear a face covering and the elevator ride should not take more than ten minutes. Schools should discourage student use of elevators in buildings where elevators are not essential to accessing the school.
For certain activities, including lunch, additional safety measures will be used. When eating, students must maintain three feet of physical distance and should be seated in such a way that they are facing away from one another. For example, students may sit on a single side of a cafeteria bench, three feet apart. Schools may utilize other spaces, including but not limited to classrooms, auditoriums, gyms, and outdoor spaces for cafeteria use.
In classrooms or cafeterias where three feet thresholds cannot be met, the Division of School Facilities and Space Planning will work with schools to increase ventilation through the use of additional air purifiers. Schools should work with their custodial staff to increase ventilation in these rooms.
Mandatory use of face coverings must be enforced for all individuals (unless they have a medical exemption) while on school property, on school buses, and on any school-sponsored transportation, regardless of the individual’s COVID-19 vaccine status. A face covering(Open external link) is any well-secured cloth or disposable mask that covers a person’s nose and mouth. A face covering with an exhalation valve or vent cannot be used on school property as exhalation valves allow unfiltered exhaled air to escape to others. Face shields are not appropriate substitutes for face coverings. Please see the Face Covering guidance for more information.
Face Covering for Staff Supporting Students with Significant Needs (Including but not limited to Students served by District 75 and Early Childhood Staff)
Adults may not always be able to maintain physical distance from students, especially when:
Supporting students with feeding and/or ambulation
Assisting students with clothing changes
Supporting students with toileting
Providing certain interventions during a related service
Supporting students who display behaviors that increase risk of disease transmission (e.g., touching, spitting, lack of bodily awareness)
In such situations, the adult must wear a well-fitting face covering(Open external link), regardless of the adult's COVID-19 vaccination status. Acceptable face coverings for COVID-19 include but are not limited to cloth-based 2-ply face coverings and disposable masks that securely cover both the mouth and nose (bandanas, scarves and single-layer "gaiters" are not acceptable face coverings). If available, KN95 face coverings are recommended for the above activities. It is strongly recommended that the adult also wear a face shield when physical distance from a student cannot be consistently maintained. If an adult is supporting a student who cannot wear a face covering, the adult must wear a face shield in addition to a face covering. Adults must wear gloves when assisting students with toileting/diaper changes. Glove use is also strongly recommended when assisting with feeding or otherwise coming into contact with a student's skin or secretions.
If the adult touches their face or needs to remove their mask momentarily for any reason, they must increase the distance between themselves and the student to at least six feet and sanitize hands before returning to close contact with the student.
In addition, staff may use alternate PPE (e.g., coverings that are transparent at or around the mouth) for therapies or interventions that require visualization of the movement of the lips and/or mouths (e.g., speech therapy) or as needed when supporting certain students (e.g., students with hearing impairments) who benefit from being able to see more of the adult's face.
Face shields and gloves will be made available upon request to any adult performing the above activities.
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