ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Pamela Helming (R), the New York State Senator from the 54th district, says students need to be back in the classroom five days a week. “I strongly believe that the evidence shows that in-person schooling can be done safely,” said Helming in an interview with NEWS10’s Rochester sister station.
Helming—who represents parts of Monroe, Ontario, and Wayne counties in the legislature—pushed state health officials Monday to issue uniform guidance for schools to follow. “First of all, there’s that social connection with their teachers,” Helming continued. “Second of all, the social interaction with their peers and their friends.”
Parents around the state are echoing similar calls. Over the weekend, a few dozen parents and students protested outside the Monroe County Department of Health, arguing that students are missing out on key moments of their lives.
Adam Urbanski, the Rochester Teachers Association president, however, says that a great many schools are not well-equipped to safely reopen. “Until we get enough people vaccinated, and until we figure out how to accommodate more students with six feet apart for social distancing, it’s going to be tough,” he said.
Urbanski noted that more teachers are getting vaccinated, but schools could run into logistical snags safely accomodating the high volume of students back in the classrooms.