SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — As COVID-19 cases decline and vaccination efforts ramp up, the push for schools to begin in-person learning 5 days a week is also picking up.
The Centers For Disease Control (CDC) said there is strong evidence now that in-person schooling can be done safely, especially at lower grade levels. On February 12, the CDC released its guidance for schools to re-open, highlighting 5 mitigation strategies to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Those strategies included mandatory and proper use of face masks and maintaining 6 feet of distance between people.
Maintaining social distancing in classrooms has proven to be a challenge for some schools, which is, in part, why the hybrid model of learning has been used in districts across Central New York.
Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon has stated that the health department has been looking at data to see if decreasing the distance to just 3 feet still stops the spread of the disease.
In a statement released Thursday, the Syracuse Teachers Association (STA) says in part, “while we all want students back for in person learning, there are many health and safety concerns and questions, as well as logistical concerns noted by the membership that will need to be addressed in order to ensure a safe return.”
STA says it will hold focus groups next week to identify specific concerns teachers may have about the return of in-person learning and share those concerns with the Syracuse City School District’s superintendent, Department Heads, and the school board.
The report also said vaccination of teachers is important, but not mandatory for reopening. According to McMahon, participation from teachers in Onondaga County to get the vaccine has been great.
STA statement can be read in full below.