Schools still waiting on official guidance from state after zone restrictions are lifted

Coronavirus

IRONDEQUOIT, N.Y. (WROC) — With Gov. Andrew Cuomo lifting COVID-19 microcluster zone restrictions, restaurants aren’t the only ones celebrating. Schools are too although they’re still treading cautiously.

East Irondequoit is one of the districts that’s been partially stuck in the orange zone since November and staff at the district said the news of zones being lifted is finally something positive. However, until they receive official confirmation from the state they’re continuing to test students and staff as they have been.

Schools in the orange zone need to test 20% of the population monthly.

While the announcement that schools would need to start testing was originally overwhelming for many districts, communications director at East Irondequoit, David Yates, said the transition actually ended up being smooth. He said zones being lifted is a testament to how well schools have been doing with safety protocols.

East Irondequoit kindergarteners through fifth graders have the option to be fully in person or fully remote and middle and high schoolers are either hybrid or fully remote.

Yates said testing will continue unless they hear otherwise. “We haven’t gotten anything from the state regarding that we have to pull back on our testing so we’d rather err on the side of caution in case something comes out and says this doesn’t apply to schools or something like that. We will stop if the state actually comes out and says, ‘you don’t have to do this,’ because anything we can do to make things as close to normal as possible we’re gonna try and do,” Yates said.

When asked if he thinks school could go back to fully in-person for all students this school year, Yates said as long as social distancing requirements are in place East Irondequoit doesn’t have enough square footage in its middle and high school buildings to have all students come back and remain six feet apart.

Schools in Brighton, Rochester, and Greece also fell into the orange zone.

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