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

Back to School: Facts First

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.

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.”

Schools like Allendale Columbia have a lot to consider and officials there said they formed a task force back in March to start tackling all of it. While school Allendale Columbia officials are confident they’ll be able to welcome students back on campus in the fall due to their small student body, public schools like Greece have a lot to figure out when it comes to in-person learning.

This isn’t a one size fits all approach. That’s something many school administrators and the state can agree on. Shannon Baudo is the interim head of school at Allendale Columbia. She said they’re developing plans for in-person, remote, and hybrid learning but their large campus and small student body make it easier to distance.

Kathleen Graupman is the superintendent in the Greece Central School District and the new President of the Monroe County Superintendent’s Council. She said some Greece schools are very full already.

“I think we’ve tried to explore all that exist, there’s been some ideas that exist with a week on and a week off, I think that’s where we’re going to get into what’s going to work best for our communities,” said Graupman.

Baudo said the elementary-age students will be staying in their classroom the entire day and lunch will be served to students of all ages in their classroom or homeroom.

“For art and music and Spanish and STEM, those teachers will come to them instead of them walking through the hallways where there will be more time they’re together,” said Baudo.

Graupman said transportation is one of the biggest obstacles right now in the Greece district.

“Currently we route for everybody, but if parents have indicated they’re going to drive every day is there a way to be able to adjust routes more efficiently?” Graupman said of rerouting the buses.

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.”

Full presentation:

Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.

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