SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENTS’ PLANS FOR REOPENING WESTCHESTER (AND NY) SCHOOLS WILL NOT BE REVIEWED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION. THE SUPERINTENDENTS DECIDE OPENING POLICY DESPITE COVID THIRD WAVE SURGE NOW GRIPPING NYC, WESTCHESTER, NASSAU, SUFFOLK

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WPCNR SCHOOL DAYS. By John F. Bailey. August 19, 2021:

School Superintendents– it’s all up to you. You decide what you want to do, how you are going to open your school districts this fall.

Your plans do not have to receive approval from the New York State Education Department, the governor, the county at this time, unless the new Lieutenant Governor-to-be Kathleen Hochul who starts the job Monday decides otherwise.

The Department of Education clarified and confirmed this “hands off” policy to WPCNR (with the exception of providing a Health and Safety Guide, a week ago)to WPCNR today by issuing this clarifying statement. The key paragraph is the last one:

“School administrators are strongly encouraged to partner with their local department(s) of health, directors of school health services, and other health professionals when developing their policies and plans responding to health and safety concerns that may arise during the school year.

     NYSED’s objective in issuing the Health and Safety Guide is to provide schools with information needed to start the school year and sustain the educational process in a manner that is informed by the CDC and other experts, supports the return to in-person learning, and enables districts to respond to student needs. 

     For school districts, opening plans are subject to the approval of the superintendent of schools. As was the case in the 2020-21 school year, 2021-22 opening plans will not be subject to approval by NYSED.

Editor’s note: In 2020 an 2021, Governor Andrew Cuomo set school instruction and covid policy protocols during the first and second waves of covid. He was relieved of this responsibility in the spring when the State Senate and Assembly voted to relieve him of his emergency powers and appointed a committee of ten assembly and State Senate members to oversee the Governor’s suggestions. It remains to be seen whether the new Lieutenant Governor will continue this policy of School Superintendents making decisions for each school district.

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