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Sherman Reviews School Safety Guidelines

SHERMAN — The Sherman Central School District will not be conducting daily screenings but will be adhering to all of the guidelines issued by the state Department of Health including the wearing of face coverings and social distancing, according to Danielle O’Connor, interim superintendent.

The state Health Department issued a 12-page document titled “Interim NYSDOH Guidance for Classroom Instruction in P-12 Schools During the 2021-22 Academic Year” on Sept. 2. The document addresses such subjects as vaccines, face coverings, social distancing, physical education and recess, COVID testing, health screenings, transportation, sports and extra-curricular activities and ventilation and filtration in schools.

However, the document lists daily health screenings and temperature checks as an option that schools may use to increase protection against and transmission of COVID-19.

“We will no longer conduct formal daily health screenings. This follows the guidance offered by our local department of health,” O’Connor said. “We ask that anyone (staff or student) who is not feeling well to stay home and contact their physician.”

In the event of that an individual tests positive for COVID-19, O’Connor said that the local Department of Health is responsible for contact tracing and quarantine.

“We will fully cooperate with them and follow their requirement,” she said.

O’Connor also said the district will follow the determination from the state commissioner of health on the use of face coverings. These guidelines were issued on Aug. 27, and guidelines on testing requirements were issued on Sept. 2.

The state Health Department guidelines stipulate that all students, personnel, teachers, administrators, contractors, and visitors must wear masks at all times indoors in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade school buildings, regardless of vaccination status. Masking is required on school buses, as well.

O’Connor went on to say that the district will also follow social distancing guidelines by having students and staff at least three feet apart during instruction.

“Our goal is to have students safe, healthy and attend school for in-person instruction five days per week,” she said.

As far as athletics and extracurricular activities, O’Connor said “we will follow the interim state Health Department guidance put forth on Sept. 2.” Those guidelines recommend that districts refer to the “Sports and Other Extracurricular Activities” section of the CDC guidance to maximize the safety of all players, coaches and spectators.

The interim guidance notes that the commissioner’s determination for masking in schools applies to indoor settings, including for sports and extracurricular activities. For indoor sports and extracurricular activities in which masking is not possible — such as swimming — a minimum distance of 6 feet must be maintained. It is also recommended that high-risk sports and extracurricular activities should be virtual or canceled in areas of high community transmission unless all participants are fully vaccinated.

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