Dozens rally for school reopening, as state continues to review new CDC classroom guidance

State of our Schools

FILE – In this Jan. 11, 2021, file photo, preschool students eat lunch at Dawes Elementary in Chicago. Pressure is building on school systems around the U.S. to reopen classrooms to students who have been learning online for nearly a year, pitting politicians against teachers who have yet to be vaccinated against COVID-19. (Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Chicago Sun-Times via AP, Pool, File)

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Dozens of students and parents gathered outside the Capitol Monday morning to push for schools to reopen statewide.

“They’ve had a whole year to figure it out, I want school in now,” said Susannah Levin, a parent of a high school student in Albany.

The rally comes days after the CDC relaxed classroom social distancing guidelines from six feet to three feet.

“It’s far too late. The data’s been out for a long time that 3 feet, all of Europe has been using a meter, that’s 3 feet, for the whole year,” Levin says.

Middle school students from Albany hope the updated guidance can get them back into the classroom sooner, especially since they’ve been remote for over a year now.

“When I was in school we had classes of like 25 kids, and it would be really hard to fit everyone at 6-feet distance, so 3 feet really helps,” said Peyton Fitzpatrick.

But it’s still unclear when, or if, the state would follow the guidance.

Andy Pallotta, president of the New York State United Teachers, says there needs to be a thorough review of the new measures.

“We do believe it was an abrupt change, so where are the details? We need some of the details,” he said.

He reiterates teachers want students back in the classroom in the safest way possible.

“We need confidence, we need the educators to be confident, parents and the students, who are the ones that would now only be 3 feet apart. I think anything less than 3 feet would be ludicrous,” Pallotta said.

The decision of loosening social distancing guidance ultimately lies with the state department of health.

A representative from the DOH says they’re still conducting a thorough review of the CDC’s new guidance.

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