August 2002

TO: Chancellor of the City of New York
Superintendents of Schools
District Superintendents

FROM: Carl T. Thurnau, P.E.
SUBJECT: Electrically Operated Partitions

Following the death of a student as a result of an electrically operated partition, Chapter 217 of the Laws of 2001 was enacted to protect children from being injured by electrically operated partitions in both public and nonpublic schools across the State. Although these new safety requirements were originally scheduled to take effect on August 29, 2002, timely implementation was not possible due to delays in the promulgation of regulations and the complexity of installing safety devices in existing partitions.

Recently enacted legislation will provide public and nonpublic schools with additional time (not to exceed one year) to comply with the new safety requirements of Chapter 217. Pending full implementation of these new requirements, the State will be taking steps to protect children from being injured by electrically operated partitions. School districts, BOCES, charter schools and nonpublic elementary and secondary schools must have the following procedures in place to ensure the safety of children until safety devices are installed on each electrically operated partition:

The Department has drafted a new Section 155.25 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education entitled "Safety requirements for electrically operated partitions", which will be presented to the Board of Regents for adoption at their October 2002 meeting. The draft regulations may be reviewed at

Attached please find a waiver request form for schools that will be unable to comply with the regulatory requirements of Section 155.25 by December 31, 2002. This certification must be forwarded to the Office of Facilities Planning in order to receive a waiver from compliance until June 1, 2003.

Due to the health and safety aspects of these electrically operated partition retrofit projects, all systems must be reviewed and approved by the Office of Facilities Planning. Submissions may start immediately. We are implementing a fast track review system to expedite necessary approvals. Approved projects will be eligible for building aid under a special cost allowance for electrically operated partitions per Chapter 217 of the laws of 2001.

Attached please find two forms associated with the electrically operated partition review and approval procedure.

First, the approval form must be submitted for each building with the requested information for review and approval. All applications must include the information identified in the gray box on the application form for each partition. Please submit applications for all buildings with partitions in the district at one time. The Office of Facilities Planning will assign all project numbers upon receipt of applications. Do not submit letter of intent (LOI) forms.

Second, upon completion of the work, submit the aid claim form and Facilities Planning will review, process, and forward to the State Aid Office for payment.