Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon said Friday that the county's infection rate is now .9 percent, and he wants school districts across the country to reopen more aggressively.
“To the districts with hybrid plans, maybe that’s the best approach for you to learn and for you to teach these kids,” said McMahon. “I’m not going to be an education expert, but you do owe us an explanation. Who’s going to watch the kids? And who’s going to pay for it?”
Many are submitting hybrid plans to the state that call for elementary and middle school students to come in a couple of days a week. Districts say this is the only way to keep desks 6 feet apart and abide by social distancing.
McMahon says many of the districts misinterpreted state guidelines.
“It wasn’t they have to be six feet apart,” said McMahon. “It was that that’s best practice. If you can’t be six feet apart, they have to wear a mask, just like we all do if we are going to be within six feet of each other.”
McMahon believes young students should be in all week long. He says hybrid plans create a child care problem and a job problem in the community.
"We're all in this together. We are dealing with the 100-year pandemic together. We can't make decisions in a vacuum that impact the community at large, the taxpayers, the parents, the businesses, the human services side of this. So we have to address some of these issues at this point," said McMahon.
As for optimizing the lesson plans, schools scrambled in the spring to switch to distance learning. For the fall, there is more time to figure out how to make sure everyone has access.
“As a parent, I am very concerned that my children are falling behind,” said McMahon. “I’ll speak to it as a parent. Some of this is not the districts faults because of what they are dealing with the hundred year pandemic.”
If he were building a plan, at least elementary students would be in the classroom every day, McMahon said, so he hopes these plans are just the rough draft.