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K12 schools return as Omicron surges in New York, SUNY/CUNY campuses will require booster shots

For the last week, Governor Kathy Hochul has made it clear: The goal is to keep K-12 schools and college campuses open in New York.

Repeatedly, Hochul has said that testing will be key to keeping K-12 schools open. While tests are in short supply in some places- other communities- like rural ones in the Finger Lakes and Central New York- have plenty. To help, the state has pledged more tests rolling out to communities across the board, in an effort to get kids tested before they return to school.

Finger Lakes Partners (Billboard)

The state is also encouraging colleges to ensure students are fully-vaccinated before they return later this month. SUNY and CUNY campuses will require the booster shot for all students. “This is how we ensure these campuses stay open,” Hochul said.

Masks will also be required on-campus in any indoor settings. Random testing will take place throughout the semester. Students will also need to return a negative test before heading back to class.

The time has come, as K-12 students head back to school on Monday. College students will follow in 7-14 days at most universities.

Opinion among parents is split on whether the best course of action is to return, or go remote for 2-4 weeks.

“I’m concerned,” one parent wrote to to say. “My son has been vaccinated, but I know vaccination rates are low among his classmates. He could get sick, bring it home, or spread it unknowingly to others if he picks it up there and doesn’t have symptoms.”

Calls on social media have grown louder for remote learning to commence through January. However, other parents are skeptical that it would end if started.

“We can’t go through 2020 again,” another frustrated parent wrote to “My child retained nothing in 2020 while learning remotely, and he cannot afford to lose another half-year. We’ve seen it before. Once they go remote, they don’t return. We don’t need that.”