Emily Hunt for WXXI News

When she was an undergraduate college student, Lesli Myers-Small said she considered going to medical school.

But the superintendent of the Rochester City School District never imagined she would have to understand so much about health and medicine in her career in education.

"It's been challenging," Myers-Small said about preparing for a new school year in the midst of a global health pandemic that is filled with uncertainties.

Dan Clark/WMHT

NEW YORK (AP) New York's teachers' unions said a single COVID-19 case in a school should trigger its immediate closure for 14 days as they listed demands Wednesday for reopening this fall.

New York State United Teachers and the United Federation of Teachers called for the state policy just as New York is poised to announce initial decisions on reopening plans submitted by roughly 700 school districts. The unions said in a release that districts moving ahead with re-openings ``must err on the side of caution at all times.''

Dan Clark/New York Now file photo

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP)  It's crucial that parents and teachers feel comfortable for schools in New York to open successfully this fall, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday.

Local districts were required to submit their reopening plans to the state Friday, and initial decisions on the plans were expected from New York officials this week. But the Democratic governor stressed Sunday that there needs to be a "full conversation" that answers parents' questions about reopening safely.

Friday is the deadline for school districts across New York State to submit plans for reopening in September. We've heard from superintendents and doctors; this hour we talk to parents about their expectations, hopes, and concerns. Districts have to solve complex challenges: how to bus students while physical distancing? How to have lunch differently? How much remote learning to engage with? What kind of sick policy is appropriate? 

Our guests debate it from the parent perspective: 

  • Chad Barbe
  • Millie Sefranek
  • Kara Austin
  • David Baumgartner


The Greece Central School District is releasing more information about the hybrid model of instruction they plan to offer this fall if schools in New York state are allowed to reopen.

The hybrid model, which a number of other districts locally and around the state are considering, would involve a mixture of both in-classroom and remote learning.

WXXI photo

If Gov. Andrew Cuomo decides that schools can reopen in September, at least one local school district is planning on a combination of in-classroom and remote learning.

The Greece Central School District is working on two possible hybrid schedules and an option for families who prefer to have their children learn entirely from home.

Superintendent Kathleen Graupman said there isn't enough room in the district's school buildings to bring all students back full-time and maintain the required social distancing.

Monroe Community College has announced its plans to resume on-campus operations for the fall semester. MCC will start resuming those activities in early August.

Officials say their plan for reopening has been approved by SUNY, and it covers the phased restart of on- campus operations, capacity of classrooms and other spaces and flexible teaching options as well as health and safety protocols.

The fall 2020 academic calendar remains the same; it runs from August 26 to December 16.

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Tyler Nichols is ready to start his sophomore year of high school. 

He's looking forward to it, especially because it would mean he can be around kids his own age for the first time in several months.

"I'm a person who likes just seeing people every day," he said.

But even though most school districts in upstate New York will be allowed to reopen in September under the criteria outlined Monday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Tyler will not be returning to Avoca high school in Steuben County, where he lives.

Greece Central School District

The New York State Education Department on Monday distributed a framework to school districts around New York with general guidelines of what they will need to do if school reopens this fall.

We continue our series of conversations about how local school districts are planning for a possible reopening in the fall. Governor Cuomo announced today that schools will reopen based on data: "Schools will reopen if a region is in Phase 4 and [the] daily infection rate remains below 5 percent (14-day avg). Schools close if [the] regional infection rate is greater than 9 percent (7-day avg) after August 1." Also today, the State Department of Health announced a framework for guidelines for a possible reopening. 

This hour, we're joined by Rochester City School District Superintendent Lesli Myers-Small who shares what the RCSD is doing to prepare for the fall. Our guest: