Governor Kathy Hochul eased the New York’s COVID-19 regulations for schools, announcing on Monday an end to quarantining and “test-to-stay” requirements.
Students and teachers exposed to the virus who don’t have symptoms will no longer have to go home and quarantine, and unjabbed pupils won’t have to undergo regular testing to remain in classrooms, also known as test to stay, Hochul said.
“The days of sending an entire classroom home because one person was symptomatic or tests positive — those days are over,” Hochul told reporters during a virus briefing at her Midtown office on Aug. 22.
The new rules fall in line with revised guidance from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from Aug. 11.
The CDC recommends that instead of quarantining, those exposed to the coronavirus should wear a high-quality mask for 10 days and get tested on day five.
If a student gets sick, they should stay home for about five days and wear a mask as well. Kids without symptoms after five days who test negative should go back to class, according to the governor.
The Health Department will also not recommend random testing for asymptomatic people in schools, but education officials can still do the screening for riskier activities of spread, like choir practice, Hochul said.
The state is bracing for a possible increase in cases this fall, as has happened in the last two years as the weather gets colder and people congregate more.
The governor recently extended her own emergency powers via executive order for another month, saying that she needed additional leeway to allow more healthcare workers like EMTs to administer vaccines, adding that she’ll revisit her order in a month.
“I wanted to just give ourselves another month to assess whether or not we needed that extra ability to have additional people be able to give vaccines and that is really how we’re primarily using it right now. Otherwise, other procedures are back to normal,” she said.
“But I’m going to look at it closely in another month and looking forward to not needing that anymore if we don’t need those extra workers,” Hochul added.