Educators, staff await state guidance on schooling in the fall

NY Capitol News

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Earlier this week Governor Cuomo said based on the current COVID trajectory, he thinks schools in New York State should reopen in September.

“I think all of our teachers, teachers’ aides, everyone is looking forward to being back in school the way it used to be,” said New York State United Teachers President Andy Pallotta. He says the union supports the Governor’s optimism about a full return for the fall. 

Bob Lowry with the New York State Council of School Superintendents agrees. “I think that’s the predominant hope among our members, school superintendents across the state, that that will be possible and that that’s how we’ll be proceeding,” Lowry said. 

Gov. Cuomo: All New York schools to reopen for full-in person learning in September

But, both say there’s a lot of details and expectations that schools will need to receive from the state before that happens. Some of the key issues remain testing, spacing on school buses and in classrooms. 

The New York State Education Department said in a statement, “Our hope is that as many students as possible will attend school in person this fall. We are having conversations on these issues with stakeholders and will continue to work with our partners across the state to ensure that we have the most up to date and reliable information possible to guide all decisions related to educating our students during the pandemic recovery.”

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As for the use of remote instruction in the fall, NYSUT would like to see that go away. “Do we have a mixed bag where teachers are teaching to students in the class, and also online? We refer to that as concurrent instruction. I haven’t met one educator who thinks that’s a good idea,” Pallotta said.

“Our hope would be that it would be very limited going forward, that it would not be just a straight open-ended option, but rather subject to some criteria,” Lowry said.

We asked the Department of Health when we might expect to see updated guidance. A spokesperson didn’t give us an exact date, but said it will be “forthcoming.”

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