Last week, parents and educators felt that the New York State Department of Health and Governor Cuomo dropped ball. It was announced that they would not be releasing guidelines for schools to follow. Now, the New York State Education Department (NYSED) is stepping in.

On August 5, a statement was released by Howard Zucker, Commissioner of the New York State Department of Health, as to why they would not be issuing any guidance.

With the end of the state disaster emergency on June 25, 2021, school districts are reestablished as the controlling entity for schools. Schools and school districts should develop plans to open in-person in the fall as safely as possible, and I recommend following guidance from the CDC and the local health departments.

According to CBS 6, Betty Rosa, the head of the NYSED, says they were forced to develop guidance because the state health department and Governor Cuomo's office did not. She did not indicate when that guidance would be put forth.

Although the Education Department does not have direct jurisdiction over matters of public health, the Department does possess oversight authority for schools, and continues its attempts to engage with the appropriate state and federal agencies on this matter. NYSED is also consulting with a diverse group of state and local stakeholders to gain insight on the issues that are most relevant at this time.

The CDC released reversed guidance to the public at the end of July, advising that all individuals (vaccinated or not) should wear a mask in public within the zones of "substantial" and "high" transmission rates. That same day, they suggested masks within school districts should be "embraced" and that children should be returning to school in the fall with "proper prevention strategies in place."

As we find out what the guidance is from the NYSED, we will update you.

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