Not When, But How Will Schools Open in September?
(This blog is written based on my own opinion and it is not the opinion of the ECSD Board of Education)
I often get asked, because I sit on the Elmira City School District Board of Education, if schools will be open in September? My response, "I’m not sure. Right now, we are 50/50". The opening is based on the sole discretion of one person, Governor Cuomo. If closing schools in March was unprecedented wait until there is a modified version come September. Only one factor will go into that decision, the COVID case rate across NYS. Right now, I’m sensing we are heading in the wrong direction.
Speaking to parents and I’m sure it’s the same in your circle, its mixed. You have parents who are full steam ahead “we want our kids back in schools”, “they need to go back”, “I don’t want my kids to go back”, “I’m keeping my kids home and will home-school them”. So who is helping make this decision to recommend to Governor Cuomo? No one really, a taskforce of 350 people was set up by NYS Education Dept and they only met once is my understanding. I believe they were overwhelmed by the issue which is not good for our kids.
Our school districts needs guidance from NYS for opening. What is the response to a positive test within a building? Does the school close down or the entire district? We are lacking leadership from state elected officials. Tell us the guidelines and the districts will take it from there.
Questions to consider when re-opening?
Priority number one should be keeping vulnerable students/staff safe
Feeding kids during the school day
Being creative with space within schools
How to increase distance throughout the building
Masking in schools
Cleaning Protocols, for full time instructions and when a case of COVID is found
Sanitizing stations throughout the schools
Temp checks before schools start
Busing, in rural districts, like ours, transportation of students need to be addressed. We can't run buses at 50% capacity
With all this said, is the state and the federal government going to help districts pay for the opening of our schools this fall or is this another unfunded mandate?
Now is the time that we desperately need leadership in Albany.