The CDC says it's "critical" for schools to fully reopen, but New York officials say the state is failing when it comes to keeping students and educators safe.

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On Friday, the CDC called on schools to reopen with proper safety precautions.

"It is critical for schools to open as safely and as soon as possible, and remain open, to achieve the benefits of in-person learning and key support services," the CDC stated

The CDC also released guidance on how to reopen safely. The CDC issued a color-coded chart that divides schools' reopening into five levels depending on the level of community spread. You can see the chart below.

CDC

Schools with lower community spread levels are encouraged to consider reopening for full, in-person learning. Schools in areas with a higher transmission can reopen but are encouraged to limit how they reopen and consider multiple safety strategies.

"To enable schools to open and remain open, it is important to adopt and correctly and consistently implement actions to slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, not only inside the school, but also in the community. This means that students, families, teachers, school staff, and all community members should take actions to protect themselves and others where they live, work, learn, and play. In short, success in preventing the introduction and subsequent transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in schools is connected to and dependent upon preventing transmission in communities," the CDC adds.

The CDC also called for increased testing for students, teachers and staff.

"At all levels of community transmission, schools should offer referrals to diagnostic testing to any student, teacher, or staff member who exhibits symptoms of COVID-19 at school. Schools should advise teachers, staff, and students to stay home if they are sick or if they have been exposed to SARS-CoV-2 and refer these individuals for testing. They should also refer for testing asymptomatic individuals who were exposed to someone with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19. In some schools, school-based healthcare professionals (e.g., school nurses) may perform SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic testing (including rapid, point-of-care testing, and antigen testing) if they are trained in specimen collection and obtain a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) certificate of waiverexternal icon. It is important that school-based healthcare professionals have access to, and training on, the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE). If a COVID-19 diagnosis is confirmed, schools can assist public health officials in determining which close contacts could be tested and either isolated or quarantined. Individuals should isolate or quarantine at home, not in school settings, and should stay home until it is safe for them to be around others," the CDC states.

New York State United Teachers President Andy Pallotta released the following statement today regarding the latest school reopening guidance released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

CDC guidance on safely operating schools during the pandemic confirms what New York educators have been saying all along. We all believe students learn best in classrooms, but that must be done in the safest way possible. Masks must be mandatory, there should be six feet of social distancing, schools need adequate ventilation systems and hygiene protocols must be strictly followed. These are the steps that help build confidence in local reopening plans.

The CDC also makes clear that COVID testing for students and staff has an important role to play in limiting the spread of the virus in schools. Here in New York, that is not happening like it should. A NYSUT survey of local unions found that this week fewer than 60 of 700 school districts around the state — less than 10 percent — are testing students and staff for coronavirus. That is unacceptable.

Now that the CDC has reaffirmed what it takes to safely operate schools, the state and federal governments must provide the financial resources districts need to conduct comprehensive testing programs without having to sacrifice any of the COVID-related and routine academic supports.

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