New York State officials released new guidance for schools.

On Monday, with the upcoming school year a few weeks away, New York State Gov. Kathy Hochul updated COVID guidance for schools across New York State.

"Since the early, uncertain days of the pandemic, New York schools, teachers and parents stepped up to ensure continued learning and a safe return to the classroom," Hochul said. "Today, we are making sure that state and federal guidance is aligned so that students and educators can enter the classroom with confidence and have a safe, healthy school year. We're getting this information out to parents, into schools, and making sure that our children are where they need to be this fall. We know there's no replacement for in-classroom learning, and we're going to make sure that this year is a very different year."

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Among the updated guidelines, educators and students won't be required to quarantine or test to stay in the classroom if exposed. An entire classroom won't be sent home to quarantine due to exposure.

"With increased access to COVID-19 information, vaccination, testing, and treatment, New York State is updating its response to ensure all students, teachers and faculty can make a safe return to the classroom next month," Hochul's office states in a press release.

The new guidance aligns with new CDC recommendations, officials say.

Quarantine If Exposed

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Students and educators are no longer required to quarantine if they are exposed to someone with COVID.

The CDC recommends anyone who has been exposed wear a well-fitted mask for 10 days when in public indoor settings and test five days after the exposure.

All should test prior to day 5 if symptoms develop before day five.

Isolation

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Students and staff with COVID-like symptoms, including cough, fever, sore throat, vomiting or diarrhea should be sent home or directed to stay home until a COVID test is completed.

All should wear a mask prior be being sent home.

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Isolate If Positive For COVID

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Students and staff who test positive for COVID-19 should isolate for 5 days at home. Day 0 is the day symptoms start. Day 1 is the first full day of symptoms.

If you test positive with no symptoms day 0 is the day you test. The clock resets if you develop symptoms within the 10 days of testing.

Students and educators can return to school after 5 days if:

  • They are fever free without fever-reducing medicine for 24 hours and their symptoms are improving; and
  • They wear a mask through day 10
  • If COVID-19 symptoms recur or worsen, restart isolation at day 0.

Schools Can Send Students Or Staff Home

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Schools are allowed to send staff or students home if they develop COVID symptoms. People sent home can return if they test negative or complete five days of isolation.

"School officials have the discretion to impose screening requirements meant to rule out the possibility of asymptomatic individuals re-entering the school environment. However, please note that, if a person who has received an isolation order from a local health official were to appear at school prior to the expiration of that order, school officials would be legally obligated to report the individual’s presence to the local health official," the New York State Department of Health States

Masking

Healthy students and educators are not required to wear masks in schools.

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  • Anyone returning to school after completing 5 days of isolation should wear a mask in school and in indoor public spaces on Days 6-10.
  • Masks are recommended in school health offices regardless of recent COVID-19 transmission levels.
  • The CDC recommends that all wear masks when COVID-19 Community levels are High.

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