Special Report

Every State's Plan to Reopen Schools in the Fall

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New Mexico

The New Mexico Public Education Department plans to reopen schools in phases and start with a hybrid model in August. In-person classes will be limited to 50% of classroom capacity. Large group gatherings are to be avoided, social distancing requirements have to be met, and face coverings are required for all students and staff, with a few exceptions.

In-person learning should be prioritized for elementary students, while older students can study online. Another option is to have schools form groups that attend school only on certain days in order to limit group mixing. Schools should consider daily temperature checks and all staff should submit to coronavirus testing.

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New York

Schools in New York state will reopen based on regional conditions, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Schools in areas that are in phase 4 of reopening can resume in-person instruction if the daily infection rate is below 5%, using a 14-day average after Aug. 1. The state guidelines call for mandatory face coverings if physical distance cannot be maintained, repurposing facilities to allow for more spaces between students during class, having a plan to move to a hybrid model of learning if necessary.

Schools in New York City will not fully reopen in September. Students will be in classes for in-person instruction one to three days a week.

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North Carolina

Schools in North Carolina will open under reduced capacity. Teachers and students K-12 must wear face masks or some other face covering. Health screenings, including temperature checks, will be required. Activities that bring a lot of people together will not be allowed. Some of the Department of Health and Human Services recommendations include one-way hallways, cohorting students, delivering meals to students in their classroom, and having physical barriers at reception desks.

Schools will be required to provide online classes to students who have COVID-19 or who have been exposed to the coronavirus. The DOE recommends that schools appoint one person to be the COVID-19 point of contact. On school buses, students must be seated 6 feet apart and wear a face covering.

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North Dakota

Schools in North Dakota can open for in-person instruction only after local health officials have approved each school district’s safety plan for reopening, as well as a plan for remote learning. Face coverings are recommended for all students and staff, especially when physical distancing is difficult to maintain. Schools are advised to post signs on how to stop the spread of the virus, and signs that would remind people to properly wash their hands and properly wear a face mask.

Students and staff should be in the same group every day as much as possible to restrict mixing of students, and group sizes should be no more than 15 people. Desks should be at least 6 feet apart. All field trips, inter-group events, and extracurricular activities should be canceled. Large areas such as gyms and playgrounds can be used to hold classes in order to maintain physical distance.

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The Ohio Department of Education’s recommendations for reopening schools in the fall include enforcement of safety precautions. Some of these are washing hands and maintaining social distancing. Masks or face coverings will be mandatory for the staff and recommended for the students.

Some students in the Columbus City School District will start the new academic year online full time. Children in pre-K through grade 8 will be physically in school two days a week with the other three days studying online.

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