Teachers and parents praise schools districts' announcements of expanded in-person learning

Charles Molineaux
Updated: April 06, 2021 11:13 PM
Created: April 06, 2021 10:35 PM

BROCKPORT, N.Y. (WHEC) — Teachers and parents alike cheered Tuesday at the news of more Rochester-area school districts opting to reopen to in-person learning for all their students.

"We are ready. We can do it. The kids are great. The teachers are great. The staff is great,” Sarah Harridine, a parent and a teacher in the Brockport Central School District, said.

On Tuesday afternoon, Brockport Superintendent Sean Bruno sent a notice to families and faculty that the district would be reopening for in-person learning, four days a week, starting on April 19.

"Yeah, it's time. You know. The time is right,” Bruno said.

Bruno pointed to the gradual deployment everywhere of plastic barriers, to the point that all students can be separated by 6 feet, or by Plexiglas.

“Now we have access to the barriers and the case numbers are down a lot more than they were in the winter,” he explained. “So we have an opportunity to do more for students and that's what we're doing."

Hilton schools too, now say they will be reopening on April 19 in person five days a week.

This comes as schools wait for the New York State Department of Health to give its okay for three feet of social distancing, like the CDC now recommends, instead of the department's current rule of six feet.

Other districts like Fairport and Penfield tell News10NBC they're planning to open April 19, but hoping the state will update those rules first.

In his notice, Bruno told parents “While it can be enticing to create plans based on speculation that the NYS Department of Health (our governing agency) will adopt the CDC’s three-foot distancing protocols, we have opted to create a plan that aligns with current executive orders.”

But in the Buffalo area, a judge has now ordered school districts to come up with a plan to reopen. He turned down parents' call for an order to make them do it immediately but gave them a week to explain how they will open.

“Our staff has been planning for months to bring kids back just in case for this scenario,” Anthony Smith, teacher and technology director for Brockport Schools, said.

Brockport teachers say they expect some nervousness and even reluctance from families but insist they’re ready, whichever way the state’s guidance ultimately points.

“We are masking, washing hands, keeping them distant, putting up the Plexiglas,” Harridine said. “And it’s been showing that it’s not spreading in the schools. So I think we’re doing a really great job across the board.”

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