Representative Tom Reed (R-23) along with 12 New York State Legislators sent a joint-letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York State Department of Health calling them to end the confusing back-to-school guidance.
The newly released New York State rules dramatically expand the criteria children or staff must meet before they can return to school. Previously, the state guidelines required students and staff to meet only one of the following criteria:
- Be quarantined for a certain number of days and be symptom-free upon return;
- Receive approval from a primary care provider or school medical director after receiving an alternative diagnosis with similar symptoms such as ear infections, strep throat, seasonal allergies or other related illnesses; and
- Receive a negative COVID-19 test.
Now, staff and students who exhibit symptoms must meet all of the criteria. Reed and the legislators say requiring a negative COVID test to return to school would place an undue burden on parents and families across the state. They say it would also cut children’s doctors out of the decision-making process.
With the new policy, parents and school staff will also often be responsible for the cost associated with COVID-19 tests, which costs $100 each time.
“We care about making sure common-sense guidelines are put into place that allow for a safe, practical return to school for students and staff alike,” said Rep. Tom Reed. “These new state rules have introduced a tremendous amount of confusion and concern from parents, students, and staff worried about the burden of unnecessary costs and excessive classroom absences. We are committed to working together to make sure parents, students, and staff can all safely return to school and succeed in the classroom.”
“Our school administrators, faculty, parents, and local departments of health have been working overtime to conquer the monumental task of opening schools under very stringent public health guidelines. After everything these groups have done, why would the New York State Department of Health keep changing their requirements to add more unachievable rules? This is unacceptable with less than two weeks until the school year begins,” the group added in a joint-statement.
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