Monroe County Council of School Superintendents writes to Cuomo about reopening guidelines

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The Monroe County Council of School Superintendents (MCCOSS) is asking Gov. Andrew Cuomo for clear guidance for reopening schools in the fall and making its own suggestions.

News10NBC obtained a copy of the letter sent by the council to the governor that is dated July 16.

The council, which represents more than 20 school districts, made the following suggestions for reopening guidelines:

  • Leaving the decision to offer remote learning up to individual boards of education.
  • Eliminating all distancing requirements due to high vaccination percentages and rare evidence of transmission in schools.
  • Not requiring masks outdoors based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and allowing school districts to work with their local health departments to decide on indoor masking guidelines.
  • Not requiring schools to collect or track vaccination data.
  • Eliminating outdoor capacity requirements, and either eliminating indoor capacity requirements as well or allow vaccination rates to make them more flexible.
  • Not requiring students or staff to be tested unless offers as an option for schools to remain open if COVID-19 rates in a district or school increase.
  • That infection rates used to make decisions about opening or closing schools be based on school-specific infection rates, not community infection rates.
  • That cleaning and disinfection procedures be updated based on the newest scientific information regarding surface transmission.
  • Eliminating daily health screening requirements.
  • That if masking and distancing requirements remain in place, vaccination rates for individual schools be used for school or district-based flexibility.
  • That guidance for student-athletes, performing arts programs, physical education and food and transportation services follow the same guidelines.

In the letter, MCCOSS says as superintendents, its members need guidance as soon as possible in order to put reopening plans in place and communicate them to families and staff.

MCCOSS Governor Letter – July by News10NBC on Scribd

Last week, MCCOSS president Bo Wright spoke to News10NBC Investigative Reporter Jennifer Lewke about the difficulties superintendents are running into while trying to plan to reopen schools without knowing what New York State’s guidelines will be.

The state keeps telling News10NBC it’s still working on the guidance so Tuesday, we asked some of our lawmakers if they’re putting the pressure on.

"I am looking forward to our children returning to school in September," Assemblymember Demond Meeks (D-Rochester) said. "We know that the digital learning our virtual learning doesn’t work for a lot of our children and we look forward to the opportunity to get our children back into the classroom. And as government, we have to do everything in our power to ensure that there’s no barriers."

"We really have to have local control and local input on any sort of guidance when it comes down in the Department of Health at the state level," Assemblymember Josh Jensen (R-Greece) said.

News10NBC will continue to check in with the New York State Department of Health about guidelines for schools reopening.