School district eyes resuming in-person classes by March 1

Local

LANSINGBURGH, N.Y. (NEWS10) — There are students at the Lansingburgh School District who have not stepped foot into a school since March of last year. That will change when all of the district’s schools are set to reopen by March 1.

“The long-term effects of not having students in buildings, so that we can get them all the support in- person that we possibly can, that’s huge,” said Lansingburgh Superintendent Dr. Antonio Abitabile.

Abitabile said Covid-19 and financial uncertainty are the reasons the district’s schools have closed. The school board made the reopening decision on Monday night.

“It was to a point where [members of the board] were comfortable enough that we will pay for any shortcomings in state aid that we may get,” Abitabile said.

New research from the American Medical Association says schools are low-risk for community spread of the virus. This announcement was little help to schools struggling to keep their doors open.

“Because of quarantine — I mean there’s still all of the other reasons that somebody could be out and we can’t staff the building. That’s why all these schools are closing,” Abitabile said.

Albany County’s Health Commissioner said she supports in-person learning. But she says, for now, parents should choose whether they’re comfortable with doing in-person versus virtual learning.

“It’s important that the schools really work hard to ensure that their students are masked when they’re in-person and they’re socially distanced,” Dr. Elizabeth Whalen said.

Lansingburgh has reported about 20 positive cases inside the district.

“My long-term worry is the damage that’s been done to the academic achievement, the intellectual and emotional component,” Abitabile said.

Now, at the half-way point of the school year, Abitabile said his biggest hope is that infection rates continue to decline and the vaccine rollout will help them reopen and stay open.

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