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Utica School Board says district will remain fully virtual for now

School officials cite the inability to maintain proper social distancing in the schools because of the number of students in the district, and the lack of substitutes as some of the reasons for the decision.

Posted: Jan 26, 2021 10:19 PM
Updated: Jan 26, 2021 10:19 PM

UTICA, NY - The Utica Central School Board decided Tuesday, that the district will remain fully virtual.

At least for the foreseeable future.

But Superintendent Bruce Karem says they'll be ready to return students to some form of in-person learning when the time comes.

Some of the factors that are weighing in on keeping Utica schools fully remote include the number of students in the district. There just isn't enough room in the schools themselves to be able to maintain proper social distance.

Substitutes are also a problem. School officials say there aren't enough of them to cover all the classes should teachers call in sick or be forced to quarantine.

And of course, there's the uncertainty of the coronavirus itself, with new, potentially more dangerous strains, being discovered.

"That’s why this whole situation is not cut and dry,” says Karam. “Because of how large we are. There are a lot of obvious variables and a lot of moving parts. The regulations, sometimes, are changing from week to week, or month to month from the state. It just makes everything much more complicated to forecast and predict."

Some board members requested that when the district decides to change course that a two-week notice be given so parents and teachers can transition smoothly to any new learning models.

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1656684

Reported Deaths: 47818
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