UTICA, N.Y. - The Utica School District will start the year with remote learning only for at least the first four weeks.
In a 5 to 1 vote, the Utica School District Board of Education voted to revise the reopening plans.
"This is a cautious approach because no one knows how it's going to work out," Joseph Hobika, a BOE member said.
"This is for safety of our students, also safety of our teachers, faculty, administrators, and everybody in the district,"
Robert Cardillo, BOE vice president said.
This vote comes after the Utica Teacher's Association asked the board to consider a revised plan.
“I think they’re uncomfortable because on the one side, there’s just not enough clear information in terms of the health risks," Hobika said.
Teachers will teach from the buildings three days a week and from home two days. However, if they choose to, teachers can teach from their classrooms five days a week.
"Teachers need more time, virtual learning can give us time so if we do close again or another issue arises, it's a smooth transition back to the homes, back to the classrooms, whatever it may be," Danielle Padula, BOE member said. “We can’t predict the future; we can change plans but it is important to focus on getting our kids back into the school.”
One member did not vote in favor of revising the reopening plans.
BOE president, Louis LaPolla says kids learn best in the classroom, and he thinks the original plans would have worked.
"I am certainly one who wants to protect our staff, our teachers, and everyone else involved, but it's difficult for me to waiver from the support of in-person teaching, I think it's extremely important," LaPolla said. “That plan was solid, a lot of work went into that plan with educators, transportation people, food service workers, it was something that we really should try.”
Superintendent, Bruce Karam says after the first four weeks of virtual learning, the board will evaluate the data and metrics to see if the district is ready to phase students back into the buildings.
The first day of school is Sept. 8.
The next BOE meeting is Sept. 22.