State to schools: close for 24 hours if student or staff tests positive for COVID-19

Posted at 2:34 PM, Mar 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-10 14:34:40-04

ALBANY, N.Y. (WKBW) — The New York State Education Department worked with the New York State Health Department to create new protocol for schools.

Starting immediately, schools will be required to close for 24 hours if a student or staff member was in the building before testing positive for COVID-19.

Following a positive test, the school must also investigate to determine who the positive individual came into contact with, and identify buildings and classrooms the individual visited. During the closure, the school will disinfect those areas following Department of Health guidelines.

Schools with a student or staff member who tests positive for COVID-19 will also notify the state health department and identify any additional steps that need to be taken.

The new guidelines come in addition to those already in place regarding travel. They include:

  • Suspending travel to impacted countries (China, Iran, Italy, Japan, South Korea)
  • Developing plans to suspend programs to all countries, depending on upcoming CDC travel alerts
  • Students and faculty returning from currently impacted countries must be quarantined for 14 days.

School administrators are encouraged to share CDC information with staff, students and families about COVID-19.

The state is also recommending school administrators enact the following non-pharmaceutical interventions for students and staff:

  • Stay home if they are sick.
  • Separate themselves if they become sick.
  • Practice responsible hand hygiene.
  • Practice appropriate respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette.

You can read the full guidance given to schools here.