UTICA, N.Y. -- School districts that already have no extra classroom space are trying to figure out how to keep students and staff six feet apart if students return to class this fall. It's likely the 'new' school day will be virtually unrecognizable to students.
"We might see a hybrid model. You may see, you know, coming to school with a schedule change as far as, for example, every other day or kids on certain days or partial kids in person, some online," says Utica School Superintendent Bruce Karam. "You can run morning, afternoon classes, every other day classes. We're looking at all of this."
Then, there's the issue of masks. Supplying them to the Utica School District's 10,000-plus students and staff will cost millions.
"You have 11,000 plus we have about 2,000 staff so let's say, for example, hypothetically, we had to supply for a full year, we would be looking at somewhere around $3 million just for facemasks," says Karam.
Then, there's the challenge of keeping them on the faces of the youngest students all day long.
"That is a concern. Obviously, we would educate our students on appropriate hygiene and wearing of facemasks, etcetera," says New Hartford School Superintendent Robert Nole.
The state's 700 school districts have until July 31 to submit their reopening plans to the state. The governor will make a decision the first week of August, as to whether or not students can return to class in the fall. Districts eagerly await more guidance from the NYS Board of Regents, which meets Monday, July 13.