Byrne: State DOH Must Provide Updated Guidance to Support Full-Time Reopening Plans

Assemblyman Kevin Byrne (R,C,I,SAM,ROS-Mahopac) has sent a follow-up letter to NYS Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker again highlighting the urgent need for his department to release updated guidance clarifying how school districts can safely offer full-time, in-person education for their students.

“Over the last month, I have made a number of statements concerning the need for the state to provide clearer information and spoke with a number of stake-holders about this important issue,” said Byrne. “It is absolutely critical the DOH provides new and updated guidance based on what we've learned about this virus since the initial guidance was provided last summer. I am pleased to see more schools have decided they are able to successfully comply with the existing standards, or announced their intention to begin shortly, to offer parents a choice of five-day, in-person education for their children.”

For many, the existing state guidance appears to be obsolete and has caused significant confusion among other local elected leaders and school administrators across the state. Several stakeholders have expressed that the available guidance lacks the clarity desired for them to confidently transition back to a traditional in-person learning option.

Specifically, Byrne is looking for the NYSDOH to update and provide clear direction on:

  • The distancing of students less than 6 feet apart, and if it’s still necessary when masks are worn;
  • The requirements for desk barriers if students sit less than 6 feet apart; and
  • Guidance on quarantining that is safe and practical while permitting in-person learning to thrive.

While school districts are currently permitted to reopen full-time, updated guidance from the state, which is current, clear and concise is needed in order to ensure that more school districts have the confidence needed to introduce and move forward with full-time in-person reopening plans.

The letter is attached.