Facilities Planning

Electrically Operated Folding Partition Advisory

Specific signage for folding partitions must be posted at all electric operating stations. The school must also have a procedure that will assure training of all persons that use electrically operated partitions. Signage must be included in bid packages that include folding partitions submitted to the Office of Facilities Planning for review.

Please advise all educational institutions that you deal with in New York State of Education Law 409-f. The law covers all levels of public and private institutions including collages and universities. The following field memo is being distributed by the Office of Facilities Planning:

In January 2001, a 12 year old boy was fatally crushed by an electrically operated folding gym partition. In March of 1991, a 9 year old girl was fatally injured in the same manner.

Education Law 409-f, effective June 23, 1992, requires every "public or private school or educational institution within the state, wherein classrooms or other facilities used by students are found to have electrically operated partitions, doors or room dividers, shall arrange for, and require, …" signage be posted, and training of persons that operate these doors.

To assist schools in meeting these legal requirements:

  • Signage must give notice regarding safe and proper operation and supervision of the electrical controls and partition/door pathway.
  • Procedures must be established for notification of all school employees and all other persons who make use of the area where the partition/door is located.

The following suggested or similar wording for this notice must be posted at every control station:




Only Appropriately Trained Staff may operate this partition.

Control stations must be attended by staff members while the partition is in motion.

Staff members must stand on opposite sides of the opening or closing partition.

Students must stay away from the partition when in motion.


Training should cover, at a minimum, the following topics:

    • Review of the tragic history of unattended use of these partitions.
    • Emphasis on the importance of constant supervision of both sides and ends of the moving partition.
    • Guidance in appropriate warning and orderly control of room occupants.
    • Instruction in hands-on operation of the partition including starting the movement, stopping the movement, reversing the movement and, if applicable, opening and closing of pocket cover doors to secure hidden spaces.

Similar signage and training is appropriate for the operation of curtain dividers in gym spaces or any other mechanically operated devices, such as bleachers, that individuals may come in contact with.

If you need any further information please contact the Office of Facilities Planning at (518) 474-3906.

Last Updated: June 11, 2009