Parents want a voice in school reopening plans, districts still waiting on state guidelines

Coronavirus

WEBSTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Parents are still waiting for a decision on how their kids will attend school in the fall and some, say they want a bigger role in that discussion.

Webster parent Christina Higley started a Facebook group called Roc for Educational Freedom for parents to discuss their concerns. She said she just wants some kind of answer as to whether or not schools will be reopening this fall. She said there’s a lot of other issues and opinions surrounding how reopening happens but right now parents just wants some notice to start planning for September.

“We need to know what is going on, to have a voice, to let officials know all sides of it. Parents have all different concerns going into this that need to be at least recognized and eventually addressed,” Higley said.

Rochester Chamber of Commerce president Bob Duffy said parents with questions should reach out to their child’s school district directly.

“What the state’s role will be is just reviewing what the schools are recommending for reopening and probably issuing an approval or maybe some additional clarifications but the real work will be done by local schools. The governor has not announced whether schools will be open yet but that decision will be made sometime, I would think, in the next month or so,” said Duffy.

Hagley said parents have tried reaching out to districts directly.

“When parents are going to their individual school districts they’re then throwing it on the state and saying the state is going to tell us what to do.”

Monroe County Superintendents Council president Thomas Putnam said districts haven’t received any formal guidelines from the state about what should be included in reopening plans.

“When I do get an email or a call from a parent who would like to share their insight on what they’d like to see in see for September, I’m going to listen, but I’m also going to let them know that as of this moment we have no guidance as a school district we’re waiting for this executive orders or the guidance from the Governor’s office,” said Putnam.

Putnam is also the superintendent in Penfield and said his district is sending out a survey to parents on Thursday to gather their feedback on reopening. He said Penfield is hoping to return to school in-person in September, but again it’s hard to form a plan without the official guidelines.

The Roc for Educational Freedom group will be holding a rally on Thursday at 3 p.m. at 2950 Atlantic Ave. in Penfield. Higley said the message is that parents need answers and want to be part of the conversation.

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