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Cuomo announces Friday deadline for school districts that have not submitted plans for in-person learning

Mon, Aug 10th 2020 04:30 pm

Allegedly, 107 school districts have not submitted a plan for in-person learning

Districts that fail to meet Friday deadline will be unable to provide in-person learning this year

Department of Health will notify districts of status of their reopening plans

Districts must complete public sessions with parents & teachers, post plans for remote learning, testing, tracing on their website by Aug. 21 to be in compliance

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday announced a Friday deadline for school districts that have not submitted plans for in-person learning. His office claimed 107 school districts had not submitted a plan for in-person learning. Districts that fail to meet the Friday deadline will be unable to provide in-person learning this year.

The state continues to review plans based on set criteria. Districts that are found to be out of compliance will get a letter from the State Department of Health today and a follow-up call naming the sections of their plans that are deficient, in which case they will have until Friday to amend their plan.

"There are 107 school districts that have not submitted their plan – for those 107 school districts, how they didn't submit a plan is beyond me. If they don't submit a plan by this Friday, they can't open," Cuomo said. "The main arbiter here of whether a school district has an intelligent plan to reopen and whether people have confidence in that district's plan: It's going to be the parents and it's going to be the teachers, and that requires discussion, and that's going to be a dialogue. Parents don't have to send their child. The parents are responsible for the health and safety of the child, and they're not going to send the child if they don't believe the plan makes sense. A teacher is not going to come back into the classroom if they think the classroom is not safe, and that's right. The school district has to have that dialogue by the 21st to fully comply with our rules."

The governor also reminded districts they must complete the three to five public sessions with parents and teachers and post their plans for remote learning, testing and tracing on their website by Aug. 21 to be in compliance with standards established by the state.

A press release included the list of local school districts that supposedly did not submit a plan. Districts include Franklinville, Salamanca, Sloan, Williamsville, Wyoming and Lewiston-Porter.

Senior Adviser to the Governor Rich Azzopardi released a statement doubling-down on the press release.

"The list of districts that didn't file a plan with the state Department of Health is accurate. Despite clear guidance provided to these schools, which included a link to the DOH portal, some districts in follow-up calls said they filed with the State Education Department – which is not an executive agency – but didn't file with DOH. Others filled out an affirmation certifying that they would be abiding by the state's reopening guidance, but didn't actually submit their plan, something many of these districts are now rectifying."

Lewiston-Porter Central School District Superintendent Paul Casseri said, “We 100% did submit on July 31 and I have resubmitted again today.” He explained DOH indicated a computer problem was present that day. Casseri was not pleased the state opted to release these names in this manner.

School Board President Jodee Riordan said, “Lewiston-Porter has been on top of and completely transparent with meeting every aspect of these plans. We go out of our way to work cooperatively with every government entity, especially challenging to do as their rules change day to day. If NYDOH knew there was a computer issue, I’d hope they would have reached out directly to each district on this list. This could have been handled much more professionally.”

She added, "NYDOH should be working with all districts on how to conduct testing/tracing, which we are all scrambling to address since the governor added these requirements late last week.

"Shaming districts over what will amount to computer glitches or clerical errors does not help further anything, especially public trust."

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