Westchester parents call for schools to reopen for in-person learning five days a week
Parents in the Hudson Valley say they want their kids back in the classroom.
They are calling for all Westchester schools to reopen to all students five days a week.
Parents from various Westchester school districts say infection rates in schools have been low and that it's safe for their kids to go back full time.
They say it's safe to go back now with mask-wearing, social distancing and good ventilation.
The parents say that districts are operating under capacity, with groups of students coming in on different days. They believe putting kids back in the buildings will lead to low infection rates.
However, according to the state COVID-19 tracker, case numbers are up and have been since November.
The decision to reopen schools rests solely on the individual school districts, which must follow state guidelines.
Westchester County Executive George Latimer said that inviting all students back will be much more difficult for certain districts.
His example was the Yonkers school district, which has about 27,000 students and a lot more buildings to cover than a smaller district like Bronxville.
White Plains School Superintendent Joseph Ricca says reopening school full time is probable.
"What I'm pushing for is to be able to safely welcome all of our children back five days a week before the end of the academic year," he says.
Ricca says it will be a very different conversation once staff members are vaccinated.
"Does it mean you have to have 100% in order to have your school be open? No. Our schools were open when vaccine didn't exist. Does it mean that you have to have a high percentage in order to have full population back all the time? I think so," he says.
Ricca says it will also be important for most students' families to be vaccinated.