Frontline News, Edition 33

September 14, 2021

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Parents and children across the country are getting ready to return to school amidst the COVID-19 surge caused by the highly transmissible Delta variant.

The overwhelming majority of new COVID-19 cases and serious infections are among people who have not yet been vaccinated, and children 12 years old and younger who are not yet eligible.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is offering guidance to states to keep children safe as we return to school during COVID-19. First and foremost, all children over 12 years old should be vaccinated unless advised not to by your doctor, and everyone should wear masks at all times (with the exception of mealtimes). Other CDC guidance includes:

Physical distancing— In elementary schools, students should be at least three feet apart. Adults should maintain six feet of distance between other adults and students and everyone should stay six feet apart at times when masks are off such as during meals.

Handwashing and covering your mouth— Teach and reinforce handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Everyone should cover their mouths with a cloth when sneezing and coughing when not wearing a mask and immediately wash hands after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

States and school districts are developing their back to school rules and requirements.

New York State’s Health and Safety Guide is here.
New York City’s School Reopening plan is here.
New Jersey’s School Health and Safety guide is here.
Massachusetts’ Back to School plan is here.
Maryland’s K-12 Guidance is here.
Washington DC’s Health & Safety guide is here.
Florida’s School Protocols are here.


In response to the increase of COVID-19 infections caused by the Delta variant, the New York Public Health and Planning Council issued emergency regulations requiring hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, and home care agencies to require personnel to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Under the regulations, general hospital and nursing home personnel must receive their first dose by September 27 and clinic and home care agency personnel must receive their first dose by October 7. Personnel who have been approved for medical exemption are not required to be vaccinated for COVID-19. The emergency regulations are in effect for 90 days and may be continued on an emergency basis or proposed for permanent adoption.

From the moment vaccines were proven safe and effective, 1199 encouraged and led the charge for New Yorkers to get vaccinated. Despite these efforts, currently less than 60 percent of New Yorkers are fully vaccinated. This number falls short in protecting ourselves, our families, our patients, our residents, and our clients from COVID-19.

Fortunately, all COVID-19 vaccines available in the U.S. are effective against the Delta variant. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) agree that vaccination is the most effective way to protect ourselves from the Delta variant, and both organizations deem the vaccines overwhelmingly safe.

It’s clear that this is a pivotal moment in our collective fight against COVID-19. The vast majority of those hospitalized nationally and locally are unvaccinated. It is imperative that we encourage our peers to get vaccinated as soon as possible. 1199 will work with employers with a shared commitment to protect all 1199 members and the patients and residents for whom they care.