Plan to reopen schools gets good marks locally

Updated: Aug. 7, 2020 at 5:58 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Governor Andrew Cuomo has given schools the go-ahead to reopen in the fall.

It's welcome news for Watertown City School District Superintendent Patti LaBarr.

"We've been looking forward to hearing that news come for so many days, that finally it's here," she said.

But, it comes with new requirements. Those include districts hosting multiple virtual meetings with parents and one with teachers.

It's something Jefferson-Lewis BOCES Superintendent Stephen Todd says he thinks is already happening in districts throughout the north country.

"It's not a surprise and it's not anything that will throw a curveball at anybody," he said.

The governor is also requiring districts to highlight three parts of their reopening plans - remote learning, COVID-19 testing, and contact tracing.

LaBarr says her district plans on having those up the same day as Cuomo required it.

"By the close of business today, we're going to take the three things he asked for, and we're going to post those right front and center on our website," she said.

Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul says she doesn't think the state is putting too much on the plates of school districts.

"You want the highest standards possible before you let your most precious treasure, your child, leave your home during a global pandemic and go into a school," she said.

The New York State United Teachers union weighed in with a statement, saying many parents and teachers have anxiety about some school district plans and infection rates tell only one part of the story.

The statement goes on to say no district should consider themselves ready to reopen buildings until their plans are safe and everything in that plan meant to keep the school community safe is implemented.

The deadline for districts to highlight the three parts of the plan is the end of next week and all required parent and teacher meetings must be done by August 21.

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