Districts offer remote learning for students with health issues

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CENTRAL NEW YORK (WSYR-TV) — Denise Cueto is a mom of three students in the Syracuse City School District. She said remote learning worked for her family last year.

“They got most improved students from being in virtual,” Cueto said.

Since we’re still in the middle of the pandemic and there are concerns over the Delta variant, Cueto had hoped they could continue with remote learning. This year is different.

“I got a letter from the school saying that we couldn’t do virtual learning unless they have a health issue,” Cueto said.

Pretty much all school districts across the region have a similar plan. They want to have students back to full time in-person learning with the remote option through BOCES for students with pre-existing medical conditions.

“So they have a doctor’s note that says that the child should not return for in-person learning five days a week like everybody else is going to be doing,” explained Central Square Superintendent Tom Colabfuo. “They will be able to have that remote option.”

Districts don’t have the staffing or funding to offer remote options beyond what is on the table now. Colabufo said although many districts received federal funding, having the BOCES option with their own teachers for remote learning is costly.

“We’re a 3,700 student district,” Colabufo added, “If even 400 decided to do it, it’s going to be about $18-million that we would have to come up with.”

If parents are concerned about in-person Superintendent Colabufo said they can choose to home school their children, which was an option even before COVID-19. Colabufo added whatever a family decides would apply for the entire school year.

Deadlines for your decision and to provide documentation vary, so check with your child’s district.

Matthew Cook, OCM BOCES District Superintendent, said the remote learning option was offered to 23 component districts within BOCES. BOCES is still waiting to hear from the component districts about what their needs will be for the school year. OCM BOCES covers most districts in Onondaga County, three in Madison County and all of Cortland County.

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