Oneida County releases school reopening guidelines, recommends high-risk sports cancel or go virtual if not vaccinated

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Boys and girls sitting at desks, raising hands (Getty Images).

ONEIDA COUNTY (WYSR-TV) — Oneida County released its guidelines Tuesday to reopen schools. 

The county also announced it is allocating $5.9 million to Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES to support health and safety protocols. 

“As we head into the 2021-2022 school year, the absolute top priority must be to have students learning full-time in the classroom,” said Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. “In order to accomplish this crucial goal, precautions should be taken to reduce the spread of COVID-19 within our schools and to keep our students, faculty and staff safe. That’s why Oneida County is recommending that all school districts follow the reopening guidance provided by the CDC and the state Department of Education.” 

The county’s recommendations are based on the guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and New York State Department of Education and include: 

  • A strong emphasis being placed on vaccination for all eligible individuals. 
  • The use of masks indoors and on buses regardless of vaccination status. 
  • Maintaining a physical distance of at least three feet. 
  • Screening testing to quickly identify cases. 
  • Improving ventilation in facilities. 
  • Routine cleaning and disinfection. 
  • Following proper hygiene procedures and maintaining respiratory etiquette. 
  • Staying home when sick and getting tested. 
  • Contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine.  

 As for the $5.9 million to help Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES, the funding will be used to support diagnostic testing, promotion of the vaccine, contract tracing and improvement to air filtration systems inside schools. 

To further assist school districts in their safe reopening this fall, Picente also announced that Oneida County will be allocating $5.9 million it received from the CDC to Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES. The funding, which passed to the county through the New York State Department of health, will be used to support diagnostic testing, vaccine promotion, contact tracing and air filtration system improvement in local schools. 

Unlike Onondaga county’s support of participating in high-risk sports or extra circular activites, Oneida sides with NYSED. Their recommendations also include following CDC guidance that high-risk school sports and extra circular activities should be virtual or canceled in areas of high community transmission unless all participants and coaches/staff are fully vaccinated. 

Below are the complete guidelines: 

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