Random temperature checks at the school door. Isolation rooms for students with coronavirus symptoms. Rolling testing of all school-based staff. All elements of the city's new plan for re-opening the public schools.
"Everywhere I go, I make sure to talk to parents, and I've actually talked to a lot of educators too. I get, overwhelmingly, that people want to come back. No one underestimates the challenges, but they're New Yorkers. They're tough. They're strong, they're resilient," Mayor de Blasio said during a briefing before the plan was released.
De Blasio previously announced the city's plan to offer students the option of learning at home, or learning at home and in school on alternate days.
Late Friday, the city submitted the new 109-page plan to the state, for operating schools safely in a pandemic.
One key element calls for taking the temperatures of a random sampling of students and staff each day with non-touch thermometers.
Students with COVID-19 symptoms are to be placed in an isolation room and evaluated by a school nurse. In schools without nurses, students will wait in the isolation room supervised by a designated staffer wearing protective gear, including goggles or a face shield, until a parent or guardian arrives.
"If your child's sick, if your child is showing those symptoms, keep your child home,” the mayor said.
And once in-person schooling begins, the education and health departments will "help establish a rolling pattern of testing for all school-based staff." But the plan offers no details on when and how that will be done.
To help students deal with these changes, which might seem frightening, the city will beef up social and emotional supports for children.
The new protocols are in addition to plans announced earlier this summer, including sending classes and, in some cases, entire schools home when positive cases are confirmed, and requiring students to have their temperature taken at home before school. The sweeping plan was submitted after Governor Cuomo gave schools the green light to re-open, citing a low percentage of positive coronavirus tests.
"All schools can reopen. Again, we have the best infection situation in the country. If any state can do it, this state can do it,” Cuomo said in a conference call with reporters.
Still, the city's new plan must be approved by the state education and health departments. And the city must submit even more granular plans for each of its schools. Those are due next Friday.