As of March 4, 2020, the NYC DOE is not planning for any New York Coronavirus school closures at this time. However, as the number of confirmed cases in New York State reached six today, the department is still cautiously preparing for a wider outbreak of COVID-19 in NYC. Here’s what you need to know about the DOE’s most recent statement on the Coronavirus:
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New York Coronavirus School Closures Are Not Planned
There are currently six confirmed cases in the state, so, according to the DOE, New Yorkers are still at “low-risk.” Because of that, New York Coronavirus school closures are not currently planned. According to the DOE, this is an “extreme measure that can be disruptive to day-to-day life.” That being said, the decision to close schools may be taken at a future point, depending on how the situation develops. However, the DOE is not taking this step lightly, and will only implement at the direction of public health experts.
The DOE is Enhancing Cleaning Protocols at Schools
The health and safety of students is the first priority of the DOE. Because of that, custodial engineers are taking extra cleaning measures at schools. Schools are fully stocking bathrooms with soap, paper towels, and CDC-approved disinfectants. Custodial engineers are receiving specific guidance for cleaning “horizontal surfaces in school building’s common areas, classrooms and bathrooms, as well as frequently contacted items.” The DOE is surveying every custodian about their supplies and inventory. They are also conducting Systems Quality Controls to ensure that the most stringent cleaning measures are being taken. Finally, principals and nurses are receiving further guidance on how to recognize the symptoms of Coronavirus and how to provide help.
Keep Washing Your Hands and Take Other Measures to Protect Yourself from the Coronavirus
It’s important that all New Yorkers continue taking preventative measures to protect themselves from the virus. These include:
- Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue or sleeve
- Washing your hands regularly
- Avoiding touching your face
- Avoiding close contact with people who are sick
- Getting your flu shot – it’s never too late
- Staying home if you’re feeling sick. Calling your doctor and let them know your symptoms and travel history
The DOE Will Continue Providing Updates
The DOE is working closely with the Health Department and keeping in regular contact with school principals. It’s likely that the DOE will provide further updates on schools as the Coronavirus situation develops in New York City. It’s also worth noting that private schools will close at their own discretion, and some schools in Westchester have already chosen to do so. For further updates on the situation, see the DOE’s Coronavirus Updates page. You can also receive regular updates by signing up for an NYC Schools account here.
To read the full version of the DOE’s March 3 statement, click here.