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COVID-19: Decision On Reopening NY Schools Will Come Within A Week

Parents and students will know the fate of the upcoming school year this week.
Parents and students will know the fate of the upcoming school year this week. Photo Credit: Pixabay

The deadline for schools to submit potential reopening plans has come, and the state will now make a determination on when and how classes will resume in the fall amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

School districts had until Friday, July 31 to submit potential reopening plans which include in-person, remote, and hybrid-learning options. Schools have been discussing options since the State Board of Education provided guidance to districts on Monday, July 13.

Plans must include how schools proposals to reduce capacity in the classroom, cafeterias, and buses, potentially staggered admission times, and plans for what happens if there is a spike in COVID-19 cases in a certain region.

Districts also must outline how they are going to socially distance children, plans for PPE, screening students and staff, sanitizing buildings, and other contingency plans for the “new normal.”

Schools are expected to post the proposals online once they are filed to the state.

“While districts have been instructed to prioritize efforts to return all students to in-person instruction, the district has to also plan for remote/distance learning as well as a hybrid model that combines in-person instruction and remote learning,” a school superintendent in New York said. “We acknowledge that our plans are subject to change and have been designed to be fluid based on circumstances.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo previously announced that school districts in New York can follow plans to reopen for in-person schooling in September if COVID-19 infection rates stay at 5 percent or lower in a given region.

Now that the plans are in, the state will evaluate them and then announce sometime between Saturday, Aug. 1, and Friday, Aug. 7 how schools will reopen for the fall semester in each region. 

“We want to make sure that decision will be made with the best available data,” Cuomo said. “The facts change week-to-week, which is why we set the drop-dead date (to make a decision.)

“We will open the schools if it is safe to open the schools,” he added. “That’s the law and that’s how we’re going to proceed. I am not going to ask anyone to put their child in a situation that I would not put my child in. That’s how I make all these decisions.”

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