On Friday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the long-awaited decision on the upcoming school year, saying that all schools in New York State would be allowed to open for a form of in-person instruction. The governor said the manner and style of learning would be decided by each district, as long as it complies with Department of Health guidelines.
“Based on our infection rate, New York State is in the best possible situation right now,” Cuomo said. “If anybody can open schools, we can open schools. We do masks, we do social distancing, we’ve kept that infection rate down, and we can bring the same level of intelligence to the school reopening that we brought to the economic reopening.”
School districts are required to post their reopening plans to their website, as well as schedule three to five remote meetings with parents before Aug. 21. There also must be a meeting with teachers to discuss reopening protocols. Schools also must submit a testing and contact-tracing plan.
“Our school guidance has been touted as the smartest [in] the country,” Cuomo said. “Our economic reopening guidance was the smartest in the country. So, if anyone can do it, we can do it. But we have been successful because we’ve been smart and we have to continue to be smart. Parents and teachers must feel safe and secure in each school district’s plan to return to school, and those plans must adhere to the Department of Health’s guidance. To ensure that is the case, New York’s families must be fully informed and part of the conversation. And so, over the next several weeks, school districts must engage: talking to parents and teachers and getting all parties on board.”
Local school districts have already submitted plans to reopen this fall, and will continue to work with the community to make the new year successful.
“At William Floyd, we are moving forward with the health and safety of our students and staff as the top priority,” said William Floyd superintendent Kevin Coster in a statement to the Advance. “We will be offering two options for Stage 1 of our reopening (September through November): the hybrid plan of two days of in-person instruction and three days of remote learning to abide by social-distancing requirements, and a virtual option for those who do not feel comfortable sending their children to school and/or with high-risk family members in their household. We look forward to welcoming our students back, even if in a limited capacity at the onset.”
Superintendent of Patchogue-Medford Schools Dr. Donna Jones also released the following statement: “Patchogue-Medford School District has kept the parents well informed up to this point in time and will continue to keep them updated as additional information is received. Within the next week, we intend to update our parents on our next steps to offer a remote-only option as well as how the remote-only option will be delivered. We will also provide parents with important information regarding our plans to address COVID-19 testing of students and employees as well as contact-tracing protocols. It is tough to make every parent happy, but we will endeavor to provide the best learning opportunities possible under the challenging circumstances.”