NYC Public Schools Reopening in September 2021: What You Need to Know
These are NYC public schools' COVID safety guidelines for reopening for the 2021-2022 school year.
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Do schools require proof of vaccination for those eligible for the COVID vaccine?
The NYSED guidance cites the CDC when it comes to asking for proof of vaccination. Schools that obtain documentation of students and workers's COVID-19 vaccination status can use this information, consistent with applicable laws and regulations, to inform prevention strategies, school-based testing, contact tracing efforts, and quarantine/isolation practices.
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Are kids and teachers required to wear masks in NYC public schools?
While the state guidance recommends everyone in K-12 schools wear a mask, regardless of their vaccination status, everyone who enters a NYC public school is required to wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status. This includes students, teachers, other staff, and visitors.
Across the state, school bus drivers and passengers must also wear masks, regardless of vaccination status. This applies to buses operated by both public and private school systems.
What are the COVID safety guidelines for sports and other extracurricular activities in NYC?
Prevention strategies during these activities remain important, especially since “school-sponsored sports and extracurricular activities provide students with enrichment opportunities that can help them learn and achieve and support their social, emotional, and mental health,” according to the NYSED guidance. At a minimum, students and adults should follow the same school-day policies and procedures during athletic and extracurricular activities.
The guide reads that high-risk sports—those that involve increased exhalation—should be virtual or canceled in areas of high community transmission unless all participants are fully vaccinated. As part of the city's multilayered approach to school health and safety, NYC has mandated that COVID-19 vaccination will be required this year for public school students and staff participating in Public Schools Athletic League sports that are considered high-risk for potential COVID transmission. These sports include football, volleyball, basketball, wrestling, lacrosse, stunt, and rugby. Participants in these sports must get their first dose of the vaccine by the first day of competitive play.
Coaches and athletic directors will check vaccination cards or the city's vaccination portal to confirm vaccine status. If a student participating in a high-risk PSAL sport does not have their first dose by the first day of competitive play for their sport, they will not be allowed to participate in practice or competition.
Parents can upload their child's vaccine status on the city’s vaccination portal: vaccine.schools.nyc.
Will NYC DOE schools be doing temperature checks and questionnaire screenings?
The CDC no longer recommends temperature or questionnaire screenings at schools. The NYSED guidance adds that families should be mindful if their child exhibits symptoms of COVID-19, to seek testing when these symptoms are present, and to keep their child home if they are sick.
To see the New York State Education Department school reopening guidance in full, visit nysed.gov.