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Now in its 14th year, Candidate Free Air Time provides candidates in selected local races the opportunity to share their views with the Greater Rochester community through WXXI.Below are all the candidates that have taken our offer of Candidate Free Air Time.

County officials want schools open, say state guidelines make it hard

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Many parents are noting the inconsistencies between COVID-19 safety regulations in schools from the Center for Disease Control and New York state.

The largest disconnect -- desk spacing requirements between students. 

The CDC is allowing 3 feet distance between students if they’re wearing masks and other safety protocols are followed.

However, if the desks are 3 feet apart, the state requires that barriers be placed between students, which will cut classroom capacity in half.

Monroe County Executive Adam Bello made it clear that the county cannot override the state’s reopening protocols.

“While we support schools reopening, we don't have any actual authority or guidance to make this happen, said Bello, “Schools are regulated by the state of New York and they report to the state of New York, not to Monroe County.”

Bello said there has been an effort to get the state to comply with CDC guidelines, but as of right now, all the county can do is ask and advocate on behalf of the districts.

“Dr. Mendoza and I have been supportive of our schools from the start of this pandemic, and we will continue to support them in any way that we can,” said Bello

County Public Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza said he has faith that superintendents will construct reopening plans that work best for their district.

“No school is created equal. They each have different details, nuances and communities, and ways they implement all these guidelines,” said Mendoza.

Mendoza said these guidelines should also include a mental health plan for students and staff.