Onondaga County superintendents comment on new classroom guidance

School Zone

ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The Onondaga County Health Commissioner says it is safe to bring more kids back into the classroom. Students can now sit three feet apart instead of six feet apart, with added barriers.

Onondaga County superintendents asking parents for some patience. Though the health department has deemed it safe to lessen the distance between kids in the classroom, it’ll take some time. 

“We all want kids in school, learning. We just need to do that with integrity and with due thought as to how to do that safely,” said Casey Barduhn, Superintendent at the Westhill Central School District.

Two weeks ago, Barduhn surveyed parents in the Westhill Central School District and overwhelmingly, most parents want their kids in school five days a week. Though the new guidance gives clarification, it raises questions.

Barduhn said, “What does the day schedule look like with all the students back in? Remember these schedules were all built based on the hybrid model. So we’re really, we’re shifting that dramatically.” 

Barduhn needs answers on things like transportation, lunch, and gym class. Most of his classrooms can fit the kids at three feet with barriers, but that all depends on how many opt for in-person learning.

“We desire to reach the same goal,” said Dr. Donna DeSiato, Superintendent at East Syracuse Minoa.

DeSiato is in the same boat: Excited for the opportunity, but reviewing the plans carefully before going ahead with them. At East Syracuse Minoa, most elementary students are in school.

“So this particular guidance, while it will opens more seats if we reduce the six feet social distancing, it will expand what we’ve already continued to do,” DeSiato said.

But when it comes to logistics, it’s like starting from square one.

Barduhn said, “To some degree, that’s absolutely true.”

Both ESM and Westhill plan to send a survey out to parents again to get numbers so they can work on classroom re-construction. With that, and many other plans to look over, these changes could take a while to implement. 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Live Doppler 9 Map Center

CNY View

CNY View

CNY View

Oswego Area

Oswego Area

Syracuse Area

Syracuse Area