Rome, NY - The Rome City School District Board of Education met for the first time in a month Thursday night as they anticipate to resume hybrid learning on Monday, January 25th.
The Board discussed the option to delay the reopening to give more time for teachers to get vaccinated and district-wide testing before everyone returns. A possibility of pushing the return date to February 22 – after Winter break – was mentioned.
Superintendent Peter Blake says he wants to reopen on a date that they can be confident that they will not have a “stop-and-start process” again like the fall semester.
Blake adds that while it is a positive sign that vaccinations are being administered, it does not change how the district can operate under the State Government, State Department of Health and State Education Department.
“Folks that think that the vaccine is going to solve our problems and allow us to have kids back in school five days a week the way that it was once upon a day, that is incorrect,” said Blake. “The vaccine does not take away social distancing requirements. The vaccine does not take away quarantine and contract tracing requirements. I would caution people to proceed lightly with getting your hopes up for one school it's going to look normal. I fully believe that next school year the entire school year will also be a hybrid school year and that we should plan for that.”
Nurses are being trained this week on how to administer rapid coronavirus tests. It plans to be rolled out simultaneously with the volunteer-testing form that must be filled out by parents, teachers.
He says that form will be sent out over the next week. 20% of students and staff combined that are reporting in person must be tested.