NYSSBA Survey Asks more than 700 Members Their Thoughts on Schools Reopening, SCSD Plan Released

Jul 31, 2020

(File photo) Flashback to the first day of school in Syracuse 2019.
Credit John Smith/WAER News

A recent New York State School Boards Association survey shows that only 44 percent of districts feel they can re-open without additional funding amid the threat of COVID-19.  Three main questions were randomly sent to more than 700 school board members.   

One of the questions asks if they could reopen schools safely.  NYSSBA Executive Director Bob Schneider says the majority of districts answered by saying they need financial assistance to defend against COVID-19.

“The most glaring one was 72 percent of our board members polled said that they felt their district could either not safely open schools in accordance with state guidelines in the absence of additional state and or federal funding or were unsure if they could do so.”

Schneider say school boards and administrators might not have the necessary supplies and there is also concern about upgrading ventilation systems.  Costs aside, 41 percent supported a full school days while 34 percent did not.  Schneider says hybrid models of how the school day is carried out are widely being discussed. 

NYSSBA's Bob Schneider.

“We will see districts teaching in classroom and also having the distance learning model continuing as part of that instructional delivery system.”

Schneider adds that everyone would probably agree that virtual learning is just not as effective as in-classroom delivery.  However, there remains a lot of concern for obvious reasons that he is hearing about.

“We haven’t heard completely yet from the teachers union and I understand that they have concerns… staff with health issues.  They want them to be safe.  We’re starting to hear that once, again - from both parents and teachers - as far as they’re (both) concerned.  I hope they can get back into the buildings, at least on a part-time basis.”  

He adds the Governor will soon make the final determination as to whether or not school buildings will welcome students to start the school year.  Click here to review the Syracuse City School District's reopening plan submitted to the State Education Department.