The Edmeston School District has had in-person learning for Pre-K through 4th graders every day, and hybrid learning for 5th through 12th Grade Students. Otsego County’s Regional numbers are at 5.5%. Well below the cap for shutting down school, but Edmeston School Superintendent Dr. Gary Furman is weighing in or more than the numbers when it comes to a student’s health.
"The remote learning is having an impact on some students leading to a little bit more depression isolation, so I think bringing them into school is the benefit to bring them out of it."
Safety is still his top concern, but he is seeing huge success in the students overall performance.
"I believe that human beings need that social interaction, that in-person connection, and I think that in-person connection generates this kind of energy among the students and the teachers, and you can’t replace that through remote learning."
Oneida County’s positivity rate is at 10.8%, and Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente isn’t willing to take chances with any student’s well-being.
"We’re at crunch time right now and so while I’ve you know in the past have talked about it I’d wait a couple weeks until we get this vaccine and push through before I’d open schools again. Let us get the vaccine out. Let us get the vaccine to teachers."
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo believes students are safer in schools than on the streets, but is prepared to step in and shut things down if necessary.
"If their schools are below the level of positivity in the community, then they can keep the schools open. It is up to the local school district to make that decision."
New Hartford Superintendent Robert Nole is sticking with the district’s current plan. He says:
“Given the current trend, it may take our region weeks to get our infection rates back to where they were in early November when we had reached the point to truly consider fully remote instruction for all students.”
The State has recently changed the infection threshold to 9%, and school districts are still waiting for guidance from the state on whether there will be new restrictions.