Mayor de Blasio of New York City outlined a set of safety protocols for the reopening of schools on Thursday.
Every school will test a sample of 10 percent of unvaccinated people biweekly, the mayor announced at a press event. Students and staff who are fully vaccinated are not required to be tested.
Since the vaccine is still unavailable to children under 12, all elementary schoolers will be subjected to testing, pending the consent of their guardian. Only unvaccinated middle and high schoolers will be tested. After all teachers and school staff are vaccinated, as the city is requiring starting with one dose by Sept. 27, they will also be exempt from testing.
“From what we’re seeing right now, we expect a lot more continuity than what we had in the last school year,” Mayor de Blasio said during the press event.
With the announcement, the city released a 13-page "Health and Safety" guide that details how schools will test, quarantine and close classrooms or buildings during the first fully in-person school year since the coronavirus crisis began.
The guidance also includes separate protocols for elementary schools and middle and high schools.
After a positive case appears in an elementary school classroom, all students in the class will quarantine for 10 days and continue to receive remote instruction from their regular teacher while they quarantine.
A positive case in a middle or high school classroom, will result in several scenarios. Students who are fully vaccinated but not showing symptoms will continue to attend school in-person. The DOE said those students will be encouraged to take a Covid test three to five days after exposure.
Those who are fully vaccinated with symptoms will have to quarantine for 10 days and will have access to remote learning while quarantining.
All unvaccinated students in a classroom with a positive case will have to quarantine for up to 10 days and continue their learning remotely. The fifth day of their quarantine, those students can take a Covid test, and with a negative result, return to school in-person after the seventh day.
Schools will be closed if, after an investigation, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene finds there is widespread transmission in the school.
“Here’s the bottom line: We do not expect a lot of building closures. We are going to have some classroom quarantines, but we’re also going to see a lot of people able to stay when others quarantine,” said de Blasio.
The DOHMH has also provided a list of 21 medical conditions that would authorize students to be able to receive home instruction.