Three feet have changed the course of local school districts as they try to navigate Covid-19 in the classroom.
"We're gearing up for full time in person, not in person hybrid," says Utica School Superintendent, Bruce Karam, head of the largest school district in Oneida County. "On Tuesday night's board meeting, I'm gonna present to the board a revised reopening plan that will include the new cdc guidance."
The CDC on Friday modified their recommendation for social distancing in K-12 classrooms, reducing it from six feet, to three. It was the last real impediment to returning to 100% in-person learning in Utica; the district simply didn't have enough room to place all of its 11,000 students six feet apart.
"We will start a phase-in process because we're looking at thousands of students. We'll start with elementary phase in, go to middle and then the high because we have busing we have to organize and schedule," says Karam. The phased-in approach will begin with elementary students after spring break, on April 12th.
The Whitesboro Central School District, according to their website, plans on bringing all students back for in-person learning April 12th, as does Oriskany. For Oriskany and Utica, the only options going forward will be full-time in-person, or full-time remote. Rome City Schools are asking parents in their district to fill out a return to full-time learning questionnaire, again, with the only two options being full-time in-person and full-time remote.
Officials with the Rome Teachers Union say there won't be any roadblocks from them, once Rome is out with their return-to-full-time-learning plan.
"Our union, the Rome Teacher's Association, is in direct line with our parent organizations NYSUT and AFT and I don't see them throwing any blocks up except for stressing, as I have, safety first," says Rome Teachers Association President, Rob Wood.