ALBANY, NY — As students return to school this week, Governor Kathy Hochul on Tuesday, September 5 announced that New York State is making COVID-19 rapid test kits and masks available to school …
ALBANY, NY — As students return to school this week, Governor Kathy Hochul on Tuesday, September 5 announced that New York State is making COVID-19 rapid test kits and masks available to school districts and Boards of Cooperative Educational Services by request. This comes amid reports of the new BA.2.86 variant and following a rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations this summer. Governor Hochul is also advising schools to follow CDC guidance to help protect students in the classroom.
“Thanks to the hard work of New York schools, teachers, and parents, we have come a long way to ensure students can safely return to the classroom,” Governor Hochul said. “Frequent testing for COVID-19 is an important part of keeping our kids safe and preventing an outbreak, and I will continue working to ensure our school districts have the resources they need to provide a safe, in-person learning environment for our students.”
This week, the State will conduct outreach to the State Education Department and Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) to survey needs for test kits and masks. After the requests have been submitted, New York State will deliver the requested tests and N-95 and KN-95 masks to each BOCES for distribution to school districts.
Additionally, Governor Hochul and the New York State Department of Health (DOH) recommend that schools review current CDC school guidance for COVID-19 prevention and work with their local health department to implement effective and feasible public health measures.
To prevent the spread of COVID-19, the CDC recommends schools:
Schools that experience outbreaks should work with their local health department for timely outbreak response support. More guidance for schools is available here.
With the new BA.2.86 variant now detected in New York, DOH and the Wadsworth Center will continue monitor the situation and track new variants to help keep New Yorkers safe. As a reminder, an updated COVID-19 vaccine tailored to guard against certain variants is expected to arrive in pharmacies and doctor’s offices this Fall.
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