‘I don't think it would work for my child’: Parents express concerns over school reopening plans

Parents and educators are weighing in on the state's guidelines for getting kids back to school.

News 12 Staff

Jul 14, 2020, 10:07 AM

Updated 1,467 days ago

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Parents and educators are weighing in on the state's guidelines for getting kids back to school.
In Westchester and the Hudson Valley, some parents are cautiously optimistic and looking forward to the fall, hopeful their children will return to school.
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"I think that if [school officials] feel that they can't do it, they won't let it come back," said Stephen Morton, a parent. "Right now they're building up to doing it in September. Hopefully they will."
On Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo outlined the criteria and says schools can only reopen if the region where the school is located remains in phase four of reopening, and the daily infection rate is at 5% or lower. This is calculated over a two-week average by the first week of August.

If the regional infection rate rises above 9% during a seven-day average, schools will have to close immediately.

The state's Department of Education has also laid out a framework for how schools can reopen. The framework was presented to the Board of Regents, with guidelines that include:
 
• health checks and screenings
• maximize social distancing
• face coverings
• disinfection measures.

While the state provides guidelines for districts to follow -- including in-person, remote learning or a combination of both -- specific plans will be left for each district to decide. 
Across New York, public schools and districts are looking at different options. In White Plains, three scenarios are under examination.
"One where schools facilities are open completely and of course that's what we're hopeful for but could be unlikely, one that is a hybrid and we're still contemplating and waiting for the region's guidance before we can pin down what a hybrid would look like most effective way to educate children in a hybrid model and of course one for remote learning,"  says Superintendent of White Plains Public Schools Dr. Joseph Ricca. 
Some parents tell News 12 those guidelines may be tough for kids to follow. "Having him in a mask in a long duration of time…I see that it's challenging. Just hanging out outside, going into the park or going into the grocery store is hard. Keeping that social distance and having that mask — I don't think it would work for my child," says Ayesha Clarke, Highview Elementary School parent.
Reopening plans must be submitted to the state by July 31. The state will then give clearance the first week of August. 
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