State Board of Regents discuss plans to bring students safely back to school
The Board of Regents met Monday morning to discuss a plan to get kids back to school safely.
The board met through a video conference at 9 a.m. to hear recommendations on reopening guidelines.
It reviewed opinions that were gathered in online forums from students, parents, teachers and school officials on how to reopen safely.
On Wednesday, it will release guidance to schools in the state. Schools must then submit their reopening plan by the end of month. After that, people will be able to review it on their district's website.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the decision to reopen will come based on the numbers -- schools will reopen if its region is in phase four and the daily infection rate is at or below 5% over a two-week average.
The meeting focused first on health and safety. Schools must be trained to recognize the signs and symptoms of coronavirus and have plans should someone in the school fall ill.
Students and staff will be required to wear face coverings and in some job cases, PPE. Health checks, plans for distancing and proper hygiene techniques were also discussed.
The task force also encouraged schools to repurpose gymnasiums, create modular classrooms to promote social distancing and instill safety measures for students who take the bus.
Social emotional well-being must be a top priority for schools, and the board is recommending districts consider a prolonged orientation or transition period to support this.
Special needs students must be prioritized when it comes to in-school services. Learning will continue for all students using any of three instructional models – in person, remote or hybrid.
Dr. Robert Dillon, Nassau BOCES district superintendent, says the information provided by the state is a big help in just knowing how and when districts can move forward.
"We hit this number, we're open. We don't hit that number, we're closed. There will be discussions among the superintendents in Nassau County ... regarding the governor's comments and hopefully we can come up with some unified response," says Dillon.
More information on the conference can be found here.