WXXI AM News

school reopening

Monday was the first day back at school for many of New York’s kindergarten through 12th-grade students, though some students will learn remotely.

Health officials say they will monitor whether the in-person classes cause any outbreaks of COVID-19. 

The New York State Health Department has set up a dashboard for parents who want to see whether anyone in their child’s school district has tested positive for the coronavirus. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the new site a few days ago. 

“If there’s a problem, we will see the problem,” the governor said on Sept. 10.

The Rochester Teachers Association advocated for a full remote learning schedule to open the school year. That's exactly what the district decided to do. It makes Rochester the only district in Monroe County without any in-person learning this fall. There have been mixed reactions, with some parents saying that this puts predominantly Black and brown children at a disadvantage.

Our guests discuss the decision and the plans for the fall:

Dan Clark New York Now

Schools in New York are busy finalizing plans to partially reopen, and many colleges and universities have already begun classes. But those who work at the schools, including teachers and professors, say guidelines for when to wear masks need to be more comprehensive to help prevent spread of the coronavirus.  

The state’s largest teachers union, New York State United Teachers, wrote a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s health commissioner, Dr. Howard Zucker, asking him to revise the policy on masks in schools to make them mandatory while in the classroom. 

September 8 marks the first day of school for students in the Pittsford Central School District. Administrators, teachers, and families have spent the summer preparing for students to be back in the classroom – either in-person or remotely.

This hour, we continue our series of conversations with local superintendents about reopening schools. We’re joined by Pittsford Central School District Superintendent Mike Pero, who shares his district’s plans for learning models, masking, testing, and more. Our guest:

  • Mike Pero, superintendent of the Pittsford Central School District

We talk to students about going back to school. The students range in age from elementary level to high school. Some are returning to the physical classrooms; others are not.

We talk to the students about what they feel like they need most in this new pandemic school year. Our guests:

  • Gwen, rising fourth grader at Klem Road South Elementary School in Webster
  • Randell Warren, rising freshman at UPrep Rochester
  • Paige O’Malley, rising freshman at Minerva DeLand 9th Grade School in Fairport
  • Oscar Merulla-Bonn, rising seventh grader at Twelve Corners Middle School in Brighton
  • Christian Hartman, rising fifth grader at Thornell Road Elementary School in Pittsford
  • Bilene Ugine, rising sixth grader at East Rochester Middle Level Academy
  • Lucia Ruderman, rising fourth grader at Genesee Community Charter School
  • Ana Sinha, rising fourth grader at The Harley School

WXXI hosts its fourth live, televised forum. This edition will explore reopening schools. 

We continue our series of conversations with local superintendents about reopening schools. This hour, we're joined by the superintendents of Gates Chili and Webster Central School Districts. They share their districts' learning models and their plans for testing, masking, physical distancing, and more.

Our guests:

As teachers prepare to head back to the classroom – either in person or remotely – they have much to consider. We’ve heard from local teachers and parents about concerns regarding the quality of remote learning. Experts at St. John Fisher College have developed a four-week training course for teachers to learn best practices in online education. The workshops are geared toward helping teachers sharpen their skills with technology and help students and teachers better interact. A number of local teachers have already completed the course.

This hour, we talk with two of them about what they learned, and we talk with the experts behind the workshop about best practices for remote learning. Our guests:

  • Joellen Maples, associate professor and interim dean of the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. School of Education at St. John Fisher College
  • Katie Sabourin, educational technologist at St. John Fisher College
  • Dena Fedkew, elementary school teacher in the Greece Central School District
  • Cassie Pruitt, special education teacher at Brighton High School

We continue our series of conversations about reopening colleges and universities. Monday, the University of Alabama reported more than 560 coronavirus cases on its campuses after reopening last week. Other schools, including the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and Notre Dame, switched to virtual classes just days after students returned in person. Local cases are lower than what we're seeing in some other states, but as reported by WXXI News last week, institutions like RIT and the University of Rochester have seen positive cases on campus.

This hour, we talk with presidents of SUNY colleges about their reopening plans. We discuss policies related to masking, testing, physical distancing, and more. Our guests:

What do teachers think about going back to school? In recent weeks we've talked to parents, superintendents, security workers, custodial staff, bus drivers, and more. But today is our first chance to hear from teachers. Privately, we've been hearing from teachers all summer long. Some are eager to get back to the classroom. Others are profoundly concerned about safety and their own health. 

This hour, we hear from teachers from several school districts. Our guests:

  • Olivia, special education teacher in the Greece Central School District
  • Anne Baughman, chemistry and physics teacher in a local district
  • Kristen French, speech language pathologist at the Rochester City School District
  • Meagan Harris, special education teacher in the Rochester City School District

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