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Districts lean on public health agencies for new school year COVID-19 guidance

Katie Zilcosky

Some of the pandemic precautions students and teachers have become accustomed to will not be required this new school year. Student mask wearing and physical distancing will not be mandatory in the Syracuse City School District as they return to the classroom.

While the schools follow current CDC guidelines, Interim Superintendent Anthony Davis said families should do what makes them feel comfortable.

"We also respect what families want to do," Davis said. "If families want their students to wear masks and things like that we will honor that as well.”

SCSD is following the actions of many school districts across the state. David Albert, from the New York State School Boards Association, believes that school districts will continue turning to the expertise of public health agencies for COVID guidance.

"School districts are composed of educators and not necessarily medical professionals or public health professionals or epidemiologists," Albert said. "So they are going to rely on the advice of the health professionals.”

Government officials are continuing to urge people to get vaccinated and boosted. As a new booster targeting the Omicron variant becomes available, Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon said that receiving this booster along with other medical advancements will make the virus more manageable this school year.

"We are well equipped with therapeutics, that's where you want to be," McMahon said. "People get sick with things every day. You take medicine and you get better."

While he is unsure if they will increase their order of COVID tests this fall, McMahon and his team will be monitoring the virus closely.

Matt Fairfax is an undergraduate student studying Broadcast & Digital Journalism at Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, expected to graduate in May 2023.