New York state releases guidance on reopening schools in new 28-page document

Around New York State

ALBANY, N.Y. (WROC) — The New York State Department of Education released detailed guidance on the process of reopening schools Monday morning.

The 28-page document covers a range of topics, including:

  • Communication/Family & Community
  • Engagement
  • Health and Safety
  • Facilities
  • Child Nutrition
  • Transportation
  • Social Emotional Well-Being
  • School Schedules
  • Budget and Fiscal Matters
  • Attendance and Chronic Absenteeism
  • Technology and Connectivity
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Special Education
  • Bilingual Education and
  • World Languages
  • Staffing

School districts across New York are to submit their specific reopening plans to the state government by the end of July. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said last week the state would make a “universal decision” in the first week of August about the prospect of schools reopening for the fall.

However, according to the guidance, “New York is a large and diverse state – so there will be no ‘one size fits all’ model for reopening our schools.”

During a conference Monday morning, Gov. Cuomo said schools will be able to reopen if they are in Phase Four and the daily infection rate remains below five percent using a 14-day average.

Schools will be closed if the regional infection rate becomes greater than nine percent using a seven-day average after August 1.

Recovering, Rebuilding, and Renewing the Spirit of New York’s Schools: Reopening Guidance

The Rochester City School District is considering several scenarios, ranging from all-in-person instruction, all-remote, or a hybrid model.

RCSD Superintendent Dr. Lesli Myers-Small said last week it is too early to decide which option the district will ultimately submit.

MORE | New York state charts course for school reopening decision, districts weigh submission plans

“What complicates it is that looking at just one of those and going down the rabbit hole on one of those and being very thorough is time-consuming, but we have to do that for all three situations,” said Dr. Myers-Small. “Because we don’t know what the guidelines, the final guidelines that come from Governor Cuomo, will be.”

So, how will schools reopen, if at all?

“That is the million dollar question right now,” Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said last week. “If you could tell us what the virus is going to do for the next month-and-a-half, we’d be able to tell you how schools are going to reopen.”

MORE | Sen. Schumer: NYS schools need federal PPE funds to reopen

Hochul said to expect social distancing and masks to be part of the guidelines.

“We also have to take into consideration the age of the children,” said Hochul. “I’m sure it won’t be difficult to get high school students to wear their masks. Preschool and kindergartners, that’s another story. We are sensitive to that.”

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