Governor says 8 area school districts failed to submit plans for in-person learning

Governor says 8 area school districts failed to submit plans for in-person learning
School illness (Source: MGN)

ALBANY, N.Y. (WWNY) - According to Governor Cuomo, 8 school districts in Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties have failed to submit plans to the state for in-person learning.

The districts include Carthage, Lyme, Canton, Hammond, Heuvelton, Lisbon, Massena, Potsdam.

Jefferson-Lewis BOCES Superintendent Stephen Todd told 7 News the governor’s report caught him, and the districts, off guard and wonders if there’s a glitch in the state’s system.

Monday afternoon, after 7 News asked the governor’s office and the state Health Department about a possible glitch, Rich Azzopardi, senior advisor to the governor, issued the following statement:

“The list of districts that didn’t file a plan with the state Department of Health is accurate. Despite clear guidance provided to these schools, which included a link to the DOH portal, some districts in follow-up calls said they filed with the State Education Department - which is not an executive agency - but didn’t file with DOH. Others filled out an affirmation certifying that they would be abiding by the state’s reopening guidance, but didn’t actually submit their plan, something many of these districts are now rectifying.”

Meanwhile, Todd said he’s confident Carthage and Lyme submitted their plans on time, because people can go to each district’s website and see the plans for themselves.

7 News subsequently viewed a document which shows Lyme submitted its plan to the state Department of Health, which responded “Thank you for your submission.”

To be diligent, Todd says asking both districts to resubmit their plans to the state online.

He added he’s certain these schools are ready to reopen.

7 News has reached out to all St. Lawrence County schools for comment.

- Canton school superintendent Ron Burke told us Canton has a plan, got confirmation from the state Education Department the plan was submitted, and also submitted the plan to the state Health Department, where there may have been issues with the submission procedure which have since been fixed.

- Hammond superintendent Doug McQueer said it took about 15 minutes to upload Hammond Central’s plan to the Department of Health, but once it was done it appeared as though it had gone through.

Cuomo said 107 districts around the state, including the ones in the north country, failed to submit their plans.

A new deadline for districts to submit their plans has been set for this Friday. If they fail to meet that deadline, the schools will be unable to provide in-person learning this year, the governor said.

Meanwhile, the state continues to review plans based on set criteria.

Districts that are found to be out of compliance will get a letter from the state Department of Health Monday and a follow-up call naming the sections of their plans that are deficient, in which case they will have until Friday to amend their plan.

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