Membership Vote on Changes to the SAANYS Constitution and Bylaws

As previously communicated, the SAANYS Constitution and Bylaws are periodically reviewed to suit current membership and organizational needs. Recently, after much discussion and reflection, the executive team at SAANYS is recommending certain revisions to the organization’s constitution.

Any changes to the SAANYS Constitution and Bylaws require that a vote of such changes be put forth to the SAANYS membership.

 to be directed to the SAANYS webpage to vote.

Constitution and Bylaws Vote

As previously communicated, the SAANYS Constitution and Bylaws are periodically reviewed to suit current membership and organizational needs. Recently, after much discussion and reflection, the executive team at SAANYS is recommending certain revisions to the organization’s constitution.

Any changes to the SAANYS Constitution and Bylaws require that a vote of such changes be put forth to the SAANYS membership.

 to be directed to the SAANYS webpage to review the changes and vote.

New Regulations on COVID-19 Testing in Schools

New Regulations on COVID-19 Testing in Schools – The Public Health and Health Planning Council and the commissioner of health issued new regulations regarding COVID-19 testing in schools.

 

• The regulations require that all K-12 schools, and some pre-kindergarten programs, report on a daily basis the positive test results reported to the school for students, staff, teaching staff, and any other employees or volunteers. The daily report will be in a format determined by the commissioner of health.

• The regulations may require routine testing in certain settings – schools, nursing homes, correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and health care settings. The commissioner could exempt fully-vaccinated persons from this type of routine testing.

• The regulation allows entities, subject to routine testing, to accept documentation demonstrating full vaccination in lieu of the imposed testing requirements.

 

Interim NYSDOH Guidance for Classroom Instruction in P-12 Schools During the 2021-22 Academic Year

NYSDOH issued new guidance for the 2021-22 school year. The guidance provides a framework for state-level strategies and is consistent with guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

 

The following is a summary of key components of the guidance:

• All schools should review and adopt all aspects of the CDC Guidance for Schools and Child Care Programs. Ultimately, the decision to adopt certain mitigation measures rests with the local community, unless required in the above guidance.

• All public school districts and non-public schools should support opportunities for staff and students to access vaccinations.

• Masks: All students, personnel, teachers, administrators, contractors, and visitors must wear masks at all times indoors, regardless of vaccination status. Medical exemptions are allowable. Masks must be worn by passengers and drivers on public transportation. Masks are generally not required outdoors.

• Physical Distancing: “Because of the importance of in-person learning, schools should implement physical distancing to the extent possible within their structures…”

A distance of at least 3 feet is strongly recommended. A distance of at least 6 feet is recommended between students and teachers/staff and between teachers/staff not fully vaccinated.

• Sports and Other Extracurricular Activities (page 12): Masks are required for indoor sports, except when they are not able to be worn (swimming). When it is not possible to wear a mask, then 6 feet distance must be adhered to. Schools should consider implementing screening testing of participants who are not fully vaccinated up to 24 hours before the sporting competition or extracurricular activity. See Table 1 in CDC Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in K-12 Schools.

• Quarantine and Close Contact (CDC Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in K-12 Schools, page 10)

º Unless fully vaccinated, any close contact must quarantine.

º Vaccinated persons will need to quarantine after contact, only if they present symptoms, however, they should be tested within 3-5 days after exposure. They must wear a mask for 14 days indoors or until they receive a negative test result.

º Close contact is anyone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for 15 minutes or more over a 24 hour period. However, in P-12 indoor classroom settings, students who were within 3-6 feet of an infected student, where both students were wearing a mask, are not considered close contacts.

º School districts must have a plan for continued instruction for students who are in quarantine or who have displayed symptoms and have been excluded from school.

º Local health departments may establish and enforce isolation or quarantine orders with the communities including schools, based on local conditions.

 Individuals Displaying COVID-19 Symptoms – All students, teachers, and staff with new or worsening COVID-19 symptoms must be excluded from school regardless of vaccination status. Schools must establish the capability to conduct or offer screening testing. This may be on-site if the district is registered as a limited service laboratory, or a school can have testing performed off-site, such as a lab, local health department, pharmacy, or health provider. Schools may also conduct pooled testing as another approach.

• Ventilation: A substantial segment is focused on ventilation.

Remembering Joseph Purcell, Past SAANYS Deputy Director

It is with immense sadness that SAANYS shares the news of the passing of former Deputy Director Joseph (Joe) Purcell. Joe served the association from 1991 to 1997, bringing to the job his passion for education, community, and for living one’s best life. His positive energy and enthusiasm inspired all who had the pleasure of working with him and SAANYS is a stronger association because of his contributions. Read the lovely tribute from his family here.

Reporting of Teacher Vaccinations

On Wednesday evening (2/24/21) SAANYS received notification from the NYSDOH’s Education Constituents Team  that a letter has been sent to school leaders across the State of a “hold “ on the requirement to report the number of vaccinated teachers. The letter states:

Dear School Leader:

 Executive Order 202.95 requires reporting of vaccinated teachers beginning on Wednesday February 23 and weekly thereafter.  Please be advised that schools and school districts are NOT required to report this information at this time, and additional information will be forthcoming. As such, schools and school districts are not required to request reporting of vaccination status or information by employed teachers or other staff at this time.

Additional information regarding this Executive Order will be forthcoming.

Thank you for your continued dedication to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

SAANYS will provide any additional information that becomes available on this required reporting.

Out-of-state vacations hitting head-on with Executive Order # 202.45

There has been some reported confusion about certain aspects of this executive order.

In addition to requiring a 14-day quarantine for NYS residents returning from voluntary travel to certain identified “hot spot” states, this Executive Order eliminates entitlement for New Yorkers to the COVID-19 two-week paid sick time provisions of Subdivision 4, Section 1 of Chapter 25 of the Laws of 2020. For employers with 100 or more employees (which includes the vast majority of school districts), the provision mandated up to 14 days of employer-paid sick leave for COVID-19 quarantine with no loss of other accrued sick leave.

SAANYS has learned that there are questions about the interpretation of Executive Order # 202.45 regarding members’ pre-planned, out-of-state vacations and the ability to take those hard-earned vacations. Some employers, supported by opinions of school district counsel, are taking the position that administrators should cancel their vacations because they are “not entitled” to paid sick leave during the subsequent 14-day quarantine period. Please understand that SAANYS’ interpretation of the Executive Law 202.45 is that the order only applies to the state 14 days paid sick leave law. The law does not infringe upon our members’ right to take contractual sick leave to quarantine thereafter. Also, given our experience with COVID, the Executive Order does not prevent working remotely either. Therefore, it is important to consult with SAANYS when the employing school district makes statements about denying access to contractual sick leave for employees returning from “hot spot” states or working remotely.  Do not be bullied into giving up your well-earned vacation. Call the SAANYS Legal Department for assistance.

It is also our interpretation that this leave benefit restriction related to travel to and from an ever-increasing number of “identified” states would only apply to travel that commenced after a state had been “identified” by the governor. In other words, if a state is identified while you are already there, the loss of COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave may not apply, even if the mandated quarantine was imposed. This will be likely true for building and program leaders during the final stages of preparation for the upcoming school year and certainly for the date on which schools are scheduled to reopen for instructional staff.

Statement from SAANYS Executive Director Kevin Casey Regarding Recent Events

“What challenging times we are in. Amid the upheaval of a pandemic, we have all been stopped in our tracks to reflect on the heart and soul of America in addition to its physical health.

As educators, these reflections run deep as we are charged with teaching our young citizens more than academics but also respect for human rights, justice, and open-mindedness; yet we witness first-hand the inequities and obstacles faced by so many of our students and families.

As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. reminded us many years ago, ‘Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.’ Educators are in a unique position to influence the moral development of young people; those people who will soon define us, and who we hope will advance us as a nation. These past weeks have shown us that education is so much more than data and grades, but a charge to continue to purposefully seek to make ourselves better as individuals and to serve as role models for the change we hope to see.”

Important SAANYS Update

Dear valued members,

In the interest of public safety, the SAANYS team will be working remotely for the next two weeks. Please be assured that this decision will in no way affect the level of service that we are committed to providing to each and every member. Communications will continue to go out on a regular basis and the website will continue to be updated with important information. The entire SAANYS staff will remain as accessible as always. To reach any staff member, please visit us at https://saanys.org/about-us/, where you will find a list of staff members, email addresses, and phone extensions.

We are here to support you during these most challenging of times, do not hesitate to call on us.

All the best,

Your SAANYS Colleagues

SED & Dept. of Health Issue Coronavirus Guidance

February 5, 2020

Dear School Administrators:

Recently, a new coronavirus called 2019 Novel (new) Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was detected in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China that has not been previously found in humans. This coronavirus can lead to fever, cough and shortness of breath. There are thousands of confirmed cases in China, including cases outside of Wuhan. Additional cases are being identified in a growing number of countries, including the United States.

This letter is to provide guidance to schools in light of this new virus as well as federal guidance recently issued from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Schools should share this information with their school nurses and directors of school health services (aka medical directors). … Read full letter here.

 

Also released was a template letter that may be used by districts to inform parents about the 2019-nCoV – that can be found here..