Schools across New York State will ease their COVID-19 restrictions this fall to be more in line with federal guidelines, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced.
During a public health briefing in New York City Monday, Aug. 22, Hochul said the state health department will advise school districts to enact new measures that are meant to keep kids in the classroom.
That includes ending the “test to stay” policy, which previously required that students who had close contact with COVID-19 show a negative test in order to remain in class.
Instead, if a child tests positive for the virus and other classmates don't have symptoms, the other classmates can stay in school as long as they wear a mask under the circumstances, officials said.
Hochul also announced that the days of sending entire classrooms home because one person is symptomatic and tested positive are over.
"We've been through that experiment,” Hochul said. “Children are safe in classrooms, and when they are not in classrooms and traditional learning stops, it can be devastating for the wellbeing of those children."
Hochul said schools may still want to conduct screening tests for those involved in certain activities like choirs or wrestling teams, where students are close together.
"We'll leave that up to individual schools to make that determination, but it is no longer recommended by CDC or Department of Health that there be this random screening," Hochul said.
The new policies will follow updated guidelines from the CDC that were announced Thursday, Aug. 11.
The agency said those who test positive for COVID-19 should stay home for at least five days, and wait until they’ve been fever-free for 24 hours without the help of medication before being around others.
The CDC also stressed the importance of staying up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations to protect against serious illness, hospitalizations, and death.
The updated school guidance, along with frequently asked questions, can be viewed on the Department of Health website.
Find out more about COVID-19 and vaccinations on the CDC website.
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