Rochester Teachers Association president on wait for school reopening guidelines

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Teachers unions are weighing in on school districts being forced to juggle conflicting recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

In a detailed letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo dated July 16, the Monroe County Council of School Superintendents (MCCOSS) requested specifics when it comes to welcoming back students in the fall, which is quickly approaching.

News10NBC Reporter Stephanie Duprey spoke with Adam Urbanski, president of the Rochester Teachers Association, Tuesday night.

He said on one hand, the union supports what the AAP recommends, on the other hand, he agrees the state should back off and leave it up to the localities to make decisions based on their school’s needs.

With the mix of new variants, and not being able to track vaccination statuses, the AAP’s recommendation to keep masks on students and staff is the most appealing option to the educators.

"That’s how we’re going to keep our schools from being a habitat for contagion, I think this is something the governor should also endorse,” Urbanski said.

In that letter to Gov. Cuomo by MCCOSS, specific requests made it clear that they feel localities should have the final say on what their schools need to operate when it comes to COVID-19 protocols, starting with the elimination of all distancing requirements.

"I think the governor will either take sides with the CDC or the AAP, or he will leave it up to the localities,” Urbanski said.

MCCOSS also said in its letter that indoor masking should be based on local data and determined by districts in collaboration with the local health department and that it doesn’t think schools should be required to collect and track vaccination data.

"We don’t know what the delta variant will do come September, we don’t know how teachers would manage a situation with all that uncertainty and all that confusion,” Urbanski added.

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