ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — On Thursday, the Onondaga County Health Department released new guidance aimed at increasing the number of students in classrooms for in-person learning.
One of the recommendations in the guidance is to allow only three feet of space between students. Originally, six feet was the standard. Face coverings must still be worn, and schools will still have to follow protocols about hand washing, temperature checks, and testing.
The guidance still recommends adults stay six feet apart from each other and from students.
The new guidance also requires physical barriers, like Plexiglas partitions, between students seated closer than six feet. Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon says Onondaga County will pay for the cost of the barriers schools need to reopen.
Most importantly, McMahon says the decision to reduce the distances between students and go to in-person learning is up to the school districts in Onondaga County, and not county officials. Superintendents are encouraged to discuss their plans with all stakeholders in the district.
McMahon says it will take time to come up with a plans and the barriers to make it work.
Both McMahon and Health Commissioner Dr. Indu Gupta say the data shows that there was no difference in transmission rates between students who had learned online and those who attended schools.
Late Thursday afternoon, Syracuse City School District Superintendent Jaime Alicea said, “We will continue to work on the logistics of offering more in-person instructional days for our students based on this new guidance and the feedback from our families and our staff. Bringing students back in-person on more days will take some time as we need to look at the data collected from the surveys, develop a plan for transportation, develop academic schedules, listen to our families and staff and much more.”
You can read the county’s guidance below:
You can watch the entire briefing by the County Executive below.