In absence of state, education commissioner to issue coronavirus guidance

In absence of state, education commissioner to issue coronavirus guidance
Commissioner of State Education Department Betty Rosa is in the process of developing guidance for schools on preventing the spread of coronavirus. (Photo courtesy of Metro Connection)

Education Commissioner Betty Rosa said Tuesday that her department will issue guidance to schools on preventing the spread of coronavirus.

She acted after the governor’s office and state Health Department unexpectedly said they would not provide such guidance.

In a memo to district superintendents shared with Blank Slate Media, Rosa said the department will provide a guidance document based on advice from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics to aid preparations for the fast-approaching school year. The heads-up came moments before Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced his resignation, effective in two weeks.

“We anticipate the forthcoming guidance will address questions around the wearing of masks, social distancing, remote learning, transportation, community transmission tracking and potential funding sources available to schools and districts that may help with preparing for the upcoming school year and beyond,”  the memo said.

Rosa acknowledged that her department does not have jurisdiction on public health matters but does oversee schools and is continuing attempts to engage with state and federal agencies. The Education Department is also consulting local officials to “gain insight on the issues that are most relevant,” according to the memo.

“This is necessary in light of the continued absence of health-related school opening direction and assistance from the Governor’s Office and the State Department of Health,” the memo said.

Rosa reaffirmed keeping students and staff safe while maximizing in-person learning as a primary goal for the upcoming school year.

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