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Local school districts say they shouldn’t be on state list of districts with no reopening plan

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo holds a coronavirus briefing in New York City on Aug. 3, 2020.
Kevin P. Coughlin
Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo holds a coronavirus briefing in New York City on Aug. 3, 2020.

School districts in the Rochester area said Monday that they should not appear on a list, published by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office, of districts that have not submitted reopening plans.

The governor’s office published the list of 107 districts shortly after Cuomo held a briefing late Monday morning. “How they didn't submit a plan is beyond me,” he said.

New York requires reopening plans to include protocol for measures like health screenings and disinfection to reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission.

Within hours, districts around Rochester that are on the list said they had, in fact, submitted reopening plans to the state health department and gotten confirmation that their plans were received.

The only Monroe County district on the state’s list is Webster.

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“We have the confirmation from Dr. Zucker,” Webster Central School District Superintendent Carmen Gumina said in an email, referring to state health department Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. “July 31 at 2:18 p.m.”

In Ontario County, the Victor Central School District said it also submitted its plans on July 31. “We received email confirmation from the State that we submitted our plan,” the district said in an email.

“It is our understanding that there is no issue with the plan itself but has to do with an internal state verification system that is being rectified.”

The Palmyra-Macedon Central School District in Wayne County, which is also on the state’s list, said on its website that it, too, submitted its reopening plan on time.

Palmyra-Macedon “was notified that it failed to submit a COVID-19 School Reopening Plan. However, it is the understanding of the district that this notification was an error.”

The governor's office said in an emailed statement from senior advisor Rich Azzopardi that the list is accurate. Some districts filed their plans with the state education department but not with the health department, and others filled out a formal pledge to follow the state's reopening guidance but didn't actually submit plans, Azzopardi said.

But both the Webster and Palmyra-Macedon districts said they filed their plans directly with the state health department. Gumina said the Webster school district refiled its plans on Monday with guidance from the health department. "They were very helpful," he said.

Cuomo said last week that 50 school districts in the state had submitted reopening plans that were incomplete. The state has not published a list of those districts.

Brett was the health reporter and a producer at WXXI News. He has a master’s degree from the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism.
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