SCHENECTADY N.Y. (NEWS10) — A new school year is starting amid a rise in COVID-19 cases in the Capital Region. Schenectady City Schools are making final preparations before welcoming students back for in-person learning on Thursday, however, some parents are concerned to bring their kids to school.
“As nervous as I am about what kind of COVID protocols are happening in the schools I am really glad she gets to go back in person,” says Holly Loft, concerned parent. Holly has two children in the Schenectady City School District. Her daughter, Jane, is excited to start 5th grade in-person.
Being on a laptop didn’t let me learn as much as being in-person would,” says Jane.
Holly wishes the district would continue their hybrid learning model. “Last year we had very low cases in our schools—part of the reason was that we have fewer kids in each classroom,” she said. “We really need the kids to be back in person, but the maskless sharing air during lunch is a really big risk.”
“My 9-year-old said to me, mom I am excited to go back to school, I just want it to be safe,” says Jamaica miles. Jamaica is a longtime community activist who also serves on the Schenectady City School Board. She held a public event on Sunday to hand out school supplies and to answer questions from concerned parents. “The school district printed out hard copies of the reopening plan of how things will be different based on the numbers of positive cases in the county—the Schenectady county public health is working closely with schools and has a plan for testing.”
The school district says they’re following guidelines and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, State Board of Education, and the Schenectady County Public Health. Superintendent Anibal Soler Jr. held a Facebook Live last Thursday to talk about the reopening process and several parents in the comments asked about a virtual learning option.
“We are offering a virtual option, it’s only going to be for students with a documents and medical need—maybe they have a health issue that’s compromised that they can’t come back,” says Soler.
Despite the district’s reopening plans, some parents say they don’t feel comfortable bringing their kids back to in-person learning. They say parents should have a choice. “I was thinking of homeschooling my kids,” says Jacqueline Dayne, a concerned parent. “I have never done it before but I thought it’s safer to do that because they’ll be here at home.”
You can read the Schenectady City School District’s full reopening plans here.