Most Syracuse teachers not ready to get back in the classroom

Coronavirus

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Last week, a district-wide survey sent out to nearly 4,000 people in the Syracuse City School District showed most teachers want to start the school year with remote learning. More than 76% of teachers agree with a remote learning model.

“We just, right now, don’t feel like we are the safest we can be for in-person instruction,” said Nicole Capsello, The First VP with the Syracuse Teachers Association.

Capsello said the teachers agree the district has been working hard, but she says SCSD simply doesn’t have the resources. Right now, classes are set to start on September 14 with a hybrid model. A good plan, Capsello says, but one that’s not fully fleshed out yet. Plus, the state is cutting even more money from its budget.

“We’re having funding cuts at a time when they are mandating all these safety equipment get put in, and they’ve cut back on how many kids can be on a bus, the transportation costs alone are going to increase by the millions,” Capsello said.

Superintendent Jaimie Alicea said the district has been working diligently with teachers and families to prepare for all scenarios, including sending thousands of computers to families and setting up hot spots for those with connectivity issues.

Even with an online-learning model, Capsello knows there needs to be improvements, including holding families more accountable so their kids can get an education.

Not ideal, but she said it’s their safest option.

“There is nothing better than face-to-face instruction, but it needs to be safe. I could give all the instruction I want, but if I send a child home sick or get their family sick, it’s not going to matter,” Capsello said.

Superintendent Jaime Alicea is expected to make a recommendation to the school board this week, including how the recent survey impacts the decision to start school with a hybrid learning model. Ultimately, the board will decide on that plan.

For more information on back to school plans for school districts in Central New York, click here.

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