Capital Region school districts react to Cuomo’s green light on reopening

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CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Local superintendents say the news they can get going on getting kids back into school couldn’t have come a moment too soon.

“What we had going on after March was just unsatisfactory, professionally. It wasn’t the right thing for kids, so we want to move towards what is the right thing for kids,” says Mohonasen Central School District Superintendent Shannon Shine.

Governor Andrew Cuomo says school districts across the state can move forward with their reopening plans — with a few conditions. All districts will need to have at least three parent information sessions to bring them up to speed.

Mohonasen Central School District and North Colonie Central School District say they’re ready with sessions and surveys already in the schedule.

“We’ve surveyed parents twice already, but this one is a you’ve got to help us out and fill this out. We need to know whether your child is coming for in person or remote instruction,” Shine explains.

“We know that parents want a more regular schedule, a more consistent schedule, they want clear expectations and the like,” says D. Joseph Corr, North Colonie Central School District’s superintendent. “We are working in that line and we will be providing that clear information in our next meeting.”

Cuomo also ordered new plans posted online to cover remote learning, coronavirus testing and contact tracing. Shine says that leaves him confused, since the Department of Health and Education Department guidance restricts testing on campus.

“I hope what he means is that when we have situations that we are doing due diligence in cooperation with the Department of Health, but we’re not actually going to do the testing or have it be done on site either, as that’s prohibited by the guidance,” he says.

North Colonie has already utilized its relationship with the local Department of Health after a positive case was discovered in the extended school year program.

“Immediately we contacted Albany County, they began their investigation. Expedited testing was arranged, contacts received, notification of their results promptly within 24 hours,” Corr explains to NEWS10’s Mikhaela Singleton.

He says they shut down for a day and so far, remain confident this approach will work for the start of school in Fall.

“I believe this circumstance worked really well, so like anything I think we do want to take time at the end of it and see okay are there things we would change and things that we would tweak,” he says.

Mohonasen will have a parent information session Friday night where parents will get that mandatory survey. Shine says that will help them finalize the reopening plan. North Colonie’s next parent info meeting will be virtually Thursday evening.

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