Reopening plans in the hands of school districts

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MECHANICVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Two state departments are at odds when it comes to guidance for school reopenings. The New York State Department of Health says schools should look to the CDC or local health departments.

With the end of the state disaster emergency on June 25, 2021, school districts can develop plans to open in-person in the fall as safely as possible. The New York State Education Department says there’s no reason they shouldn’t provide guidance when it comes to public health.

Mechanicville School District is already getting ready on its own. “To have no limitations on the kids being here every day is a giant relief,” said Bruce Potter, the Mechanicville Superintendent.

Robert Lowry, the Deputy Director at NYS Council of School Superintendents, says after a year of challenges many school districts are used to having curveballs thrown at them. “School district leaders have had a lot of practice pivoting on short notice,” he said.

Potter and members of the Mechanicville Board of Education met on Thursday night for their annual meeting. They started to go over what the fall would look like for students and staff. “I know the folks of Mechanicville especially our Board of Education are looking for the most normalized school experience as possible,” he said.

Potter says he is breathing a sigh of relief after not having any restrictions this upcoming school year. “There’s no limitation on transportation or in the cafeteria because those two things would be stumbling blocks to having in-person school every day,” he said.

“Virtual learning was hard so whatever we can do to get her back in school with her friends will be great,” said Alexis O’Conner. A parent at Mechanicville School District, O’Conner is filled with emotions watching her daughter cheer and get to be back in the classroom full time. She doesn’t want these opportunities taken away for the second year in a row. “If wearing a mask is the only thing that has to be done, that’s fine, because they can have a normal class size, and normal school day,” said O’Conner.

Mechanicville School District will be holding a special meeting on August 25. They plan to finalize their reopening plans. It also will include if students will have to wear a mask or not.

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