School districts across the state are preparing for the start of the 2022-23 school year and, as the nation enters a new phase of the pandemic, school communities have received clarification on the COVID-related mandates and guidance for schools. On August 11, 2022, the CDC released an updated Operational Guidance for K-12 Schools to Support Safe In-Person Learning. For detailed information, please review this document from the NYS Department of Health. “What Parents/Caregivers Should Know about COVID Mitigation Strategies for the 2022-2023 School Year” (August 2022) or scroll below.
New York State, based in part on federal CDC recommendations, has changed the COVID-19 guidance to give school districts more flexibility in the coming school year. See below for information about masks, positive covid tests, and more.
Students and staff do not need to wear masks on the school bus or in school, however, any student or staff member may choose to wear a mask while at school to prevent the spread of illness. Mask-wearing is recommended for at least 10 days following a positive COVID test or COVID illness (see below).
Illness/Positive COVID test
As with any infectious illness, students and staff who test positive for COVID-19, or who show symptoms, are asked to stay home from school and follow the Centers for Disease Control’s Isolation Guidance.
- Someone who tested positive and has no symptoms may return to school after day 5. When reporting a child’s absence to the school’s attendance office, please let staff know if your child tested positive for COVID-19. (Schools, like medical facilities, are required to keep track of illnesses such as COVID-19, flu, Pertussis, etc.)
- Someone who is sick (has symptoms) and tested positive may return to school after day 5 from the onset of symptoms if they have been fever-free for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication) and symptoms are improving.
- According to the CDC recommendations, people who have been sick, or tested positive, should wear a mask through day 10. (Individuals who have two negative rapid tests–one on day 6 and one on day 8 can remove their masks prior to day 10.)
Testing is recommended for people with symptoms of COVID-19 as soon as possible after symptoms begin.
At-home test kits
BH-BL still has at-home COVID-19 test kits for students. If you need a home COVID test, please contact your child’s school nurse.
COVID-19 vaccinations are not required to attend school. Children ages 6 months and older are all eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Children older than 5 are eligible for a booster. For more information, visit ny.gov/vaxtoschool.
Health and safety protocols
Routine cleaning in our school buildings continues to be an important strategy for reducing the spread of illness. High-risk areas such as health offices, classrooms, lunchrooms, athletic rooms, bathrooms and high-traffic areas are cleaned daily. High-touch surfaces such as lunch tables, desks, chairs, light switches and handrails are cleaned several times a day.