Reopening Schools


As the focus in New York shifts to preparing schools for re-opening following the protracted shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, local unions will play a key role in helping to ensure a safe and accessible environment for students and school faculty and staff alike. NYSUT wants its members to know their statewide union is here to help guide them every step of the way. As such, NYSUT is offering this comprehensive resource page to address questions on everything from instruction to organizing local health & safety committees, to personal protective equipment. NYSUT will continually update this resource to ensure it provides members with the most timely information.



These resources will help you to engage in your community's conversation on reopening schools, including perspectives on instruction, health and safety considerations, and additional resources for NYSUT local union leaders.

Planning for School Reopening: The instructional questions that must be answered

As the education community looks to reopen New York schools, we must look through the lens of educational equity and access for all students. That is why we have assembled a series of thought-provoking questions for you to consider when developing your local union’s positions about reopening. Learn more.

Health and Safety Considerations for Reopening Public Schools

NYSUT local unions have an important role to play in ensuring our schools are safe places for members and the school community. That’s why all NYSUT locals should insist on participating in the development of their building’s re-opening plan. This resource provides an overview of developing a workplace risk assessment; creating a plan to protect the school community; and offering training and communication on health and safety policies and procedures. Learn more.

How to Organize Your Health and Safety Committee

NYSUT is committed to ensuring that our collective voice is heard on all issues related to the health and safety of our school communities. One way this can be done is by working with our schools to establish effective health and safety committees. We encourage you to review this how-to guide (PDF) to learn more about best practices and what the state law requires. Learn more.

Frequently Asked Questions on Reopening Public Schools

Is my school required to provide me with a face mask? How do I enforce social distancing with my colleagues? What should I expect the district to clean and how often? We answer these and many more common questions for education staff. Learn more.

NOTE: We will update this guidance document as more questions come in and the situation evolves.

Health and Safety Resource Guide for Reopening Schools (login required)

We recognize there are a lot of moving pieces. This resource guide for local presidents and NYSUT labor relations specialists contains key questions to consider and other health and safety information that will help those developing plans to reopen schools. We do not prescribe specific policy since every situation is unique and many local factors must be considered. Learn more. Leader login required.

NYSDOH: Interim Advisory for In-Person Special Education Services and Instruction

After the governor issued an executive order allowing districts to offer in-person summer services for students with disabilities, the state Department of Health recently posted an interim guidance advisory.

This advisory outlines minimum requirements for opening schools for summer special education services. While the advisory outlines some provisions, additional health and safety details should be considered in order to have a comprehensive plan for bringing staff and students back to school. Learn more.

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