ROCHESTER & WEBSTER, NY (WROC) Teachers Union President Adam Urbanski says while the green light has been given to reopen schools in September, it doesn’t necessarily mean schools here will open their doors next month.
“(Governor Cuomo) said that both parents and teachers have to be persuaded that it’s safe to open in September,” he says.
The Governor is asking districts to facilitate at least three meetings with parents before reopening. For some parents, it’s mixed reaction. While some are celebrating, they also say there’s still a lot of work to do these next few weeks.
“It’s a little disappointing that we’re learning about these pieces that still need to be worked through this late in the game,” says Webster parent Christina Higley. She says weeks ago, Albany could have set up things like the testing and tracing requirements, and met with parents. She says there’s just too much to think about before September.
Karen Iglesia is also Webster parent and her husband is a former Rochester City teacher. She already made up her mind on returning weeks ago, and says all her children will be learning from home.
“We have a vulnerable household. I just can’t allow a child to go to school and possibly bring it back home,” she says. (Iglesia also does something called ‘Primetime Learning Pods’. A way to have small groups to get safe in-person instruction. More information can be found here).
“I mean, there’s no real good answer, whatever side of the fence you’re on,” says Gerard Iglesia, a Retired RCSD Teacher.
Urbanski says getting kids to socially distance and wear a mask is a major challenge, and ventilation in many schools just isn’t where it needs to be to combat Covid. He adds the concerns of parents and teachers need to be heard before schools become “petri dishes” for infection. He says stay online and at home.
“There’s nothing sacred about September. There’s something sacred about life and protecting life,” he says.