Monday, April 12th, some local schools reopened to students. Whether they were hybrid or fully remote, now some schools are allowing all students back to the classroom. We spoke with the Rome and Utica School District Superintendents.
Rome Free Academy had hybrid learning, but now students can go back full time. It was a busy day as schools prepared for all of the students coming back to in person learning. The Rome Free Academy Superintendent, Peter Blake, said "It's a great day. It's wonderful to welcome back the students that want to be back for in person learning."
Although, not everyone came to school today as remote learning is still an option. The Rome Superintendent said "By regulation we can't force people to come to school. We're required to offer full remote option for any family or student that wants that for the remainder of the year."
If you are on the fence about sending your kids back to school, just know that schools have strict safety regulations. The Rome Superintendent said "Having kids in the building is not new to us. We still have the virtual screening at home. Just the simple questionnaire, we have temperature checks, temperature stations when they come in the building. The frequent wiping of high touch surfaces throughout the day. Standard protocols that have been in place all year long."
For some other local schools, students haven't been inside for more than a year. But that changes today. The Utica City School District Superintendent, Bruce Karam, said "Well this is a day we've been looking forward to for a year. All the students are back full in person, except at the high school."
At Proctor High School, 11th and 12th graders are in person but 9th and 10th are remote learning. They are hoping to allow them to come back in a few weeks. The Utica Superintendent said "We're very happy that we can do it. The positivity rate on the virus is down. The vaccination rate is up. So there's a lot of good indicators out there. We're prepared, we have a good plan, and we're moving forward." Local schools must follow the CDC and NYS health department new guidelines that were issued on Friday.
And a reminder for parents, even if your kids are welcomed back to school, you still have the choice for them to continue remote learning.