This week, Governor Andrew Cuomo will make a decision on whether schools will be allowed to open next month.
Many are still questioning the logistics, such as how often students should be tested.
“We are not recommending that every student gets tested to return to school, only when they have physical symptoms,” State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said in addressing Senate lawmakers during a roundtable discussion on schools reopening.
Although students, faculty, and staff must be screened daily, lawmakers questioned the safety of not testing asymptomatic students.
“Students who do present any sort of a symptom related to COVID-19 are going to be asked to be quarantined at the school,” Jill Dunkel, Director of Nutrition at NYS Department of Health said. “Then see their health care provider to ensure that they are not symptomatic and they don’t need to be tested for COVID-19.”
“I think you’re honestly going to have some pushback on this from parents and staff who have legitimate concerns about asymptomatic carries of the disease,” Senator Shelly Mayer responded back.
But to keep students, faculty, and staff safe and schools clean, it will all come down to funding. And while the state is holding out hope that the federal government will approve money for schools soon, there is very little recourse for school districts already struggling financially.
“The way it (the guidance) is set up right now it is impossible for schools to conform with it, without extra buses, extra runs, extra expense,” Senator Betty Little questioned.
“I know, I do I really get it,” Dr. Zucker said. “And this is why I’ve always said the issue of schools re-opening is such a critical aspect here because of the potential for spread."
Most of the roughly 700 school districts across New York have already submitted individual reopening plans to the state for approval.