FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Statement From State Education Department Regarding Need for Department of Health Guidance
Notwithstanding the position of the Executive Chamber that the Department of Health (DOH) will not be releasing guidance to assist schools with welcoming students back to safe and healthy learning environments in September, Commissioner of Education Betty A. Rosa has sent a letter asking Commissioner Howard Zucker to consider DOH’s statutory responsibilities as the state agency devoted to protecting the public health.
The Public Health Law provides that the Department of Health is charged with exercising control over and supervising the abatement of nuisances affecting or likely to affect public health as well as supervising and advising any local unit of government and the public health officials thereof within the state in the performance of their official duties. Currently, there is no greater nuisance affecting public health and safety than COVID-19. There is an urgent need for timely advice and supervision flowing from the State Department of Health to local and school officials as they navigate these uncertain times.
The circumstances enveloping the Executive Chamber this week should not prevent the Department of Health from the execution of its responsibilities to the public, as has been promised by the Governor’s office for months.
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