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Updates on COVID-19 Policies for School Counselors - January 2022

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The following email was sent from School Counselors Chapter Leader Rosemarie Thompson to all school counselors on Monday, Jan. 10.

Happy New Year! I hope your winter break gave you time to safely gather with your loved ones and pause to reflect after an eventful, strenuous year.

I want to share with you some updates related to personnel issues and COVID that are relevant to our chapter. Most important, I want to remind you that your administration should include you in any COVID-related communication from the DOE. The guidance applies to all titles, including counselors. Also, we often field questions from parents and students, so it's imperative that our administration keeps us up-to-date even on family-facing guidance. To that end, I've included some documents issued to parents and students along with the guidance directed to staff.

You are always welcome to contact me at or the UFT Contact Center at 212-331-6312 with any questions about these policies or with problems you’re having. If the issue is operational, please first try to resolve it with your building response team or chapter leader before you bring it to the union. Thank you for everything you do!

DOE Personnel Memorandum No. 1: Attendance, Leave and Timekeeping Policies

This DOE guidance, issued on Jan. 3, offers the most current attendance, leave and timekeeping policies as they relate to COVID-19.

Please pay close attention to the policies regarding close contact. We can't follow DOE policy in the wake of close contact with an infected person if our administration doesn't notify us that we've been in close contact.

Read Personnel Memorandum #1

Principals' COVID FAQ

This FAQ for principals contains a wealth of information about school-wide policies for managing COVID-19. Please note that any references to “all staff” include school counselors. I want to draw your attention to the information about the shortened isolation period, courtesy staff testing and home COVID test distribution.

You can also find the FAQ behind the employee login barrier in the DOE Info Hub.

Read the Principals' FAQ

School Health Policy

This guidance for staff explains rules and resources for staying healthy at school. Please pay close attention to the section titled Students and Staff Identified as Close Contacts under the header Symptoms of COVID-19 While at School. This section makes it clear that schools should immediately distribute an at-home rapid test kit to each student and staff member who was in a classroom with the individual who tested positive. This includes your counseling space.

You can also find this guidance behind the employee login barrier in the DOE Info Hub.

Read the School Health Policy

COVID-19 Testing

This guidance explains current DOE policies related to random surveillance testing and testing policies for when members of the school community display symptoms or test positive. You may want to pay extra attention to the sections titled Courtesy Staff Testing, At-Home Rapid Tests Kits for Students and Staff and Frequently Asked Questions.

You can also find this guidance behind the employee login barrier in the DOE Info Hub.

Read the DOE's Guidance on COVID-19 Testing

Additional DOE documents

These documents and pages may be useful for you to have on-hand as you interact with students and parents.

Related Topics: Chapter News