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NYS requires all unvaccinated pre-K-12 teachers, staff to be tested weekly for COVID

A classroom
Eileen Buckley

The New York State Department of Health is now requiring all unvaccinated teachers and staff in schools from pre-K to 12th grade to be tested for COVID-19 every week.

Employees can opt-out of the testing by showing an Excelsior Pass or other acceptable proof of vaccination. Schools are also required to offer weekly testing to unvaccinated students in areas of moderate, substantial or high transmission rates.

Under the terms of the emergency declaration issued Thursday, State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker can also require testing in other settings such as homeless shelters, correctional facilities, nursing homes and health care settings, depending on the prevalence of COVID.

Currently most of Western New York has a high transmission rate. Wyoming County has a substantial transmission rate.

Gov. Kathy Hochul said the state has now finalized its official guidance for classroom instruction, including 6 feet of spacing when students are engaged in activities where they are permitted to remove their masks, such as eating, drinking, singing or playing wind instruments.

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