June 22, 2009

Assembly Passes Measure Protecting Schools
from Penalties for Lost Days Due to H1N1 Virus

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Education Committee Chair Catherine Nolan announced today the passage of legislation (A.8710) that requires the commissioner of education to disregard any deficiency in the number of days of session for schools with closures related to the H1N1 flu virus.

Under state law, schools must hold session for at least 180 days to qualify for state aid. This measure protects schools that closed due to concerns surrounding the swine flu occurrences.

"During the latter part of this school year, several schools have been temporarily closed due to the H1N1 virus, in order to protect the health, safety and well-being of staff and students," said Silver (D-Manhattan). "This legislation would prevent the loss of state school aid for districts that closed schools as a result of the epidemic."

"As the school year comes to a close, schools may not be able to hold the number of session days required by law in order to avoid a reduction in state aid," said Nolan. "Those schools must not be penalized for making the difficult decision to close."

Some schools in New York City and elsewhere in the state closed temporarily after districts experienced widespread flu-like symptoms among students, teachers and staff during the H1N1 flu health emergency, which has since been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization.