Health Department releases COVID-19 FAQ’s to assist school districts in re-opening

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| 21 Aug 2020 | 01:52

The Orange County Health Department has released a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) guide that will assist the county’s 17 school district in addressing COVID-19 health safety parameters and contact tracing requirements for schools to consider while reopening this fall.

“We are dedicated to working with our school districts in creating a safe environment for our students during these unprecedented times,” Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus said in the press release detailing the FAG guide. “Taking preventative measures such as wearing a mask, washing your hands often, following timely isolation and quarantine measures after testing/traveling, as well as practicing social distancing are important safeguards that will help us weather this storm. Working together we will get through this crisis.”

Orange County Health Commissioner Dr. Irina Gelman and her staff worked in collaboration with school superintendents to create the guidance. Gelman said that schools should use it to help develop their health and safety plans for reopening that are required by the New York State Department of Education.

School district governing bodies, with input from their medical directors, must approve health and safety plans and submit the plans, tailored to their unique local needs, to the state before reopening. Having a plan approved is required to reopen schools for in-person instruction.

“Although the complete list of recommendations is on our website,” Gelman said, “the idea behind the guidelines is to protect our schools by staying vigilant and proactive in our response to monitoring the health of school participants.”

“We have been on weekly calls with our school superintendents and County Executive Neuhaus, collaboratively navigating through the pandemic,” Gelman added. “This communication allowed us to exchange critical information and collaborate on the guidance for the re-opening of schools. The health and safety of our children and community members are of the utmost importance and we will continue to provide support to our school district during these unprecedented times.”


COVID-19 resources are available via the OCDOH website, Facebook page and the Orange County NY free app.

To view the Health’s Department’s FAQ, go to

CARES Child Care Scholarship
The Child Care Council of Orange County has announced that income-eligible essential workers can seek a CARES Child Care Scholarship.
The funding for scholarships comes from the U.S. Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which provided New York State with $163.6 million of emergency relief for the child care system.
The state is using a portion of the money to provide free child care for income-eligible essential workers.
According to the Child Care Council, essential workers who use a regulated child care provider will receive a scholarship for the cost of care as long as the funding is available.
All licensed and regulated providers who are caring for essential workers are eligible to participate. Anyone who meets the definition of an essential employee and has child care needs can register at CARES Child Care Scholarship Parent.
Registrants will then be contacted to obtain information about their household and child care provider.
For more information, contact Linda Martini at the Child Care Council of Orange County at 294-4012, extension 222.