School Reopening Plans Coming into Focus but not without Uncertainty

Jul 28, 2020

Syracuse and other schools weighing safety and education as they develop plans for school to start in the fall.
Credit WAER File Photo

A number of Central New York’s school districts are fine-tuning details for their fall semester.  However, the efforts to balance education with health and safety still leave uncertainty.

Parents are starting see a picture emerge of what it will be like to get their kids back in school this fall – or at least back learning – if not actually in school.  The Syracuse City School District has a draft plan that would have kids in grades K-thru-8  in class a couple days a week, while high school students would be learning largely at home and online. 

Officials know having youth at home creates problems.  School Board President Katie Sojewicz also thinks about the burden on instructors having to do lessons for class, online and take-home learning.

“I also know, being a teacher myself in a different district, just hoe overwhelming and how much work it takes to change your instructional model, and make sure you’re meeting the needs of all your students.”  

She admits things won’t be perfect.    

“In addition, we have lots of families that don’t have internet access, who don’t have devices.  And then even with those things, do they have the ability to meet the needs of all of their children in the home.”

Once a plan is finalized, she’s hoping the board and district will hear feedback they received after the spring semester was disrupted by shutdown.

“And I would encourage everyone to continue to support the schools and the teachers and the families, because no matter what decision is made, it’s not going to be the very best for students, to be honest.  We need our students to be in school, everybody agrees, but we also need them to be safe.”

The Fayetteville-Manlius and Jamesville-Dewitt Districts, along with Liverpool and others are drafting similar plans where students would be in classes part of the week, then learning at home.  All plans, including safety and sanitation practices, have to be approved by the state.