“Fall Action Plan” For Back-To-School
and Seasonal Pandemic Surges

Governor Kathy Hochul announced on July 20, new COVID-19 preparedness initiatives to protect public health and support New York State’s ongoing response to the pandemic. Governor Hochul announced the State is working closely with public health experts to craft a Fall Action Plan to address the potential for seasonal COVID-19 surges later this year, as well as strategies to allow students to return safely to school this fall. Governor Hochul also announced a Request for Proposals has been released for an independent After-Action Review to assess the State’s COVID-19 response, identify what worked and what did not, and serve as a guide for all local governments planning emergency response efforts.


“Since day one, my top priority has been to keep New Yorkers safe, especially as we prioritize safely navigating forward through this pandemic,” Governor Hochul said. “My team is working around the clock to bolster our preparedness against future pandemic surges and other related public health emergencies both in the short-term and the long-term. We’ve made real progress in our fight against COVID-19, and we remain vigilant in making sure that New York State emerges stronger than ever before.”


“As the pandemic progresses and continues to change, we must remain vigilant and be prepared for new strains as they emerge,” said Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado. “With students returning to school classrooms in the fall, we need to have a plan in place to address future variants.”


The State is actively preparing a Fall Action Plan to address potential pandemic surges later this year. Planning is being conducted in consultation with health policy experts and will also be informed by the voices of New Yorkers through a public opinion survey conducted by the State in mid-June that surveyed residents on issues related to the pandemic.


Fall planning will focus on addressing the below, but not limited to:

A Return to School strategy, including distributing 3 million tests to schools before the beginning of the school year.


Getting more New Yorkers vaccinated & boosted, including the ability to stand up mass vaccination sites again if the need arises.


Encouraging New Yorkers to test early, test often.


Promoting more access to treatment and therapeutics, including a recently launched statewide hotline for New Yorkers who may not have immediate access to healthcare professionals, as well as an ongoing commitment to support New Yorkers struggling with the effects of Long COVID

Readying stockpile of personal protective equipment (PPE), including 20 million tests ready to deploy where needed.


Strengthening our hospital systems, including preparations to ramp up the State’s Surge Operations Center in the event they are needed

Coordinating with federal and local partners.


Governor Hochul also announced a request for proposals to develop a pandemic After-Action Review, as part of New York State’s ongoing pandemic preparedness efforts. The purpose of the After-Action Review is to review the State’s COVID-19 response, identify what worked and what did not, and examine how the State could have improved its response. The Review will also serve as a guide for New York State and for other governments to use in order to respond quickly and effectively to significant emergencies, whether they are pandemics, natural disasters or with mayors, county leaders and other elected officials.


Effective education and communication with the public, including the sharing of data and other information.


Staffing and expertise needed to plan and implement emergency procedures and specific functions that must be fulfilled.


 Under the one-year contract term, the consultant is requested to plan and provide initial finding on priority areas within six months of the contract start date. More detailed analysis and additional areas will be incorporated over following six months culminating in a final After-Action Report within one year.


The aim of the Review is to better inform New York State’s pandemic response and is not intended to conflict with other outside ongoing reviews. The Governor has appointed Jackie Bray, Commissioner for the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, to oversee the After-Action Review process.