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Superintendents still waiting on state rules to open schools, target date is mid-July

Berkeley Brean
Updated: June 29, 2020 06:12 PM
Created: June 29, 2020 06:07 PM

NEW YORK, (WHEC) — We started the week with a tough dose of reality. On Meet the Press Sunday, here on News10NBC, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said there is no guarantee children will be back in classrooms in September. 

Gov. Cuomo was asked if school reopenings could be delayed because of the spike in the virus in other parts of the country. 

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"We're preparing to open schools, we have plans to open schools," Cuomo said.

But then he said anything can happen in two months.

"But if this continues across the country, you're right [Meet the Press host] Chuck [Todd.] Kids are going to be home for a long time," Cuomo said.

Gov. Cuomo closed New York schools in March. 

Multiple superintendents told me they were promised state guidelines to open schools by the middle of June. 

That hasn't happened. 

Dr. Tom Putnam is the superintendent in Penfield. Ordinarily, his bus route plan would be done by now. 

Dr. Thomas Putnam, Penfield CSD Superintendent: "So we are all working on plans, various plans, on what it could look like, but until you know the rules it's kind of tough to create a finalized plan."

I reached the superintendent of Gananda by phone. 

Shawn Van Scoy, Superintendent Gananda CSD: "It is June 29. Right now usually out high school schedule is done and we're doing hiring and preparing for our classes in the fall and we're afraid that we're not going to have any clue as to what our schedule is going to look like until Aug. 1."

So to get an answer on when the state guidelines for reopening school is coming I reached T. Andrew Brown, a lawyer, regent and part of the teams that met over the last two weeks to come up with the guidelines. 

Brean: "When can you tell these school superintendents and the families in these schools that they're going to get these rules from the state so they can start making plans to reopen in September?"

T. Andrew Brown, NYS Regent: "I understand the dilemma superintendents are in. We hope to be able to roll out a set of guidelines mid-month, mid-July. We are in the process of digesting the information we gathered from the different hearings."

Brown says there is only one person who makes the call to reopen schools, and that's Gov. Cuomo. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics says students should be allowed to return to classrooms in the fall.

They've laid out some policies for schools to consider.

The AAP says schools need to be willing to revise plans based on transmission data and that policies must be balanced with known harms of keeping kids at home.


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