January 18


Healthy And Safe Learning Guidelines Continue To Change In Public School System

January 18, 2022

It may seem like the CDC is constantly revamping COVID-19 recommendations when it comes to how often one should get tested and subsequently quarantine if they’ve contracted the virus. Unfortunately, pandemic guidelines within the school system are also constantly changing – forcing parents and children to stay on top of the recommendations as in-person learning remains in effect citywide, as of this week.

At the January 10th Zoom meeting of School District 18’s Community Education Council (CEC), Superintendent Celeste Douglas briefed everyone on the recent guidelines set forth by the Department of Education (DOE).

Beginning January 3rd, the following was put into effect, among other stipulations according to Douglas’ presentation:

-The DOE and Situation Room will no longer ask for close contacts or implement partial class quarantine.

– Full classroom closures still apply to 3-K and Pre-K classes. The students impacted by classroom closures due to COVID-19 may test out of quarantine by taking a test on Day 5 or later and, if negative, return to school on Day 8.

– A student experiencing COVID-like symptoms at school should be isolated and have the guardian called for pickup. The school should give the guardian a home test (two tests) along with a customized letter.

-A staff member experiencing COVID-like symptoms at school should be given a home test kit (two tests) and leave work immediately.

There are also a slew of new guidelines regarding the use of home test kits to determine when a child or teacher can return to class. The symptomatic individual must stay home until two negative home rapid test results have been received. Fully vaccinated staff may return to work if they are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms.

-At work, from Day 6 through Day 10, the positive teacher/school-based staff member must consistently and correctly wear a well-fitting, higher-level face covering, such as a KN95 mask, which will be provided to staff if they do not have one, and they must distance themselves from others when they must remove their mask for eating or drinking.

It was also noted, “School-based staff working under this policy must continue to stay at home outside of work, take precautions to avoid household transmission and observe other required elements of isolation while not at work until the end of the 10-day period.”

Parents are encouraged to stay on top of the never-ending pandemic changes by checking in with their children’s school or visiting schools.nyc.gov for up-to-date alerts and information.

During another presentation, School Construction Authority’s (SCA)  Zeeshan Ott shared the status of structural improvements taking place within District 18. The Capital Investment & Mandated Projects 2022-2024 total $38,735,818 and include mostly external upgrades like electrical work, playground development, roof repairs, flood elimination and exterior masonry.

“We take care of most of the emergency repairs that are surveyed by school custodians – some are pop-up issues and others are projects that we have to undertake to keep the building safely operating,” said Ott.

However, Ott made it clear that some upgrades such as modernizing libraries and technology enhancement fall under what the DOE classifies as Resolution A projects.

“Reso A projects are funded through elected officials who allocate discretionary funds from their budget,” Ott said. He also noted in his presentation that the SCA does major capital renovations only. For CEC board members who want to submit a project request, the improvement has to abide by certain capital project guidelines. “Everyday repairs should be assessed by the custodians.”

One of the CEC board members asked if district superintendents conduct walk-throughs of buildings like they did years ago to gauge repairs, but Ott said that repairs and project evaluations are done through custodians and not superintendents.

To find out details of the next Zoom meeting hosted by District 18 CEC, call their office at 718-566-6037/6011 or email cec18@schools.nyc.gov.

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