Schools will look a lot different this fall. That's the message coming from the state in regards to the new guidelines the state is working on to reopen schools in the fall. That's even if schools will reopen this fall. That decision won't be coming until the first week of August.

Believe me, this is one every parent's mind that has school-age children as well as the teachers, administrators, and school staff. The thought of how to reopen the schools and more importantly, how we can keep our kids safe is a daunting task.

My daughter will be a high school senior this fall. On one hand, I want her to have the typical high school experience like most of us had. Football games, parties, school plays, and the day to day comradery of the high school experience. However, as a parent of a child that has an "at-risk" immune system, I'm terrified of letting her go back to in-school learning. I would rather have the schools stay closed until we have a vaccine to combat Covid-19 and then reopen the schools.

Unfortunately what I think is going to happen all over the country is schools are going to reopen with strict guidelines to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Then inevitably a student or teacher is going to test positive and they are going to shut down the schools anyway. God forbid if a student or teacher dies. People will be up in arms yelling, "Why did you open schools when you knew it wasn't safe?" Sounds a lot like Mrs. Kintner to Chief Brody in Jaws after the shark eats her son Alex, doesn't it?

So, what guidance have we gotten from the state on reopening the schools in the fall? Well, not much yet. We should have a more "filled-out" plan in a couple of weeks. Governor Cuomo and interim state Education Commissioner Shannon Tahoe have announced a few guidelines.

  • Masks required for students and staff even on the bus
  • Staggered arrival and dismissal times
  • School opening could be staggered by regions like the states reopening of businesses
  • One way hallways
  • Daily temperature screenings for teachers and students
  • Daily screening questionnaires to faculty and staff.
  • Assign groups of students to the same teacher every day
  • Open windows to increases ventilation (Kinda hard in the winter)
  • Keeps students belongings separated
  • Turn student's desks in the same direction six feet apart
  • Staff will also be trained to identify signs and symptoms of COVID-19

Currently, school districts all over the Capital Region are coming up with plans that they will submit to the state to help form the plan to reopen schools. In the end, it could be in-person learning, remote learning, or a combination of the two. We'll find out in early August.

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