Mayor De Blasio and Mayor elect Adams shared their commitment and planned efforts to fully reopen schools on Monday, January 3 to students in the public school system. In the press briefing on December 28 strategies on how to safely reopen and keep open schools were laid out including more testing and new quarantaine rules for close contacts. Only 1 in 120 close contacts developed Covid from October to December in public schools which is 0.83%. Outside of schools the number of close contacts to develop Covid in this timeframe has been 14%.
- The administration will double PCR testing in schools in all grades
- Testing in school will include vaccinated and unvaccinated students and staff
- At-home test kits will be distributed widely to students
- If somebody in a classroom tests positive, all students in the classroom will take home test kits and can come back the next day if tested negative at home
- Students who test negative at home do not need to quarantaine anymore regardless of their vaccination status. They will take another at-home test within 5 days
- Anyone who tests positive on a take-home test should immediately report it to the school and begin isolating. Students who test positive must isolate for 10 days and can return to school on Day 11. No negative test is required to return to school.
- For students in 3-K and Pre-K, the quarantine policy will remain the same, meaning that any 3-K or preK student who was in close proximity to a positive case will still have to quarantine for 10 days.
- Only students who have consented to testing will get the at-home kits to avoid quarantine, so there will be a push to increase the number of students who have consented to testing
The State of New York recently issued updated guidance on isolation periods for essentialstaff, which includes teachers and school-based staff. This guidance shortens the isolation period for these individuals who test positive, but are asymptomatic or showing mild symptoms, from 10 to 5 days. Teachers and school-based staff who are fully vaccinated may now return to work on Day 6 after testing positive for COVID-19