Concerned parents and state officials will be at the capital in Albany to advocate for re-opening schools in New York.

Ciara Irizarry, who has a child in kindergarten, says kids and teachers need to be back in school - all kids, all ages, all schools. "Many states with higher COVID positive cases, and bigger districts have been open this entire time and have made it work successfully."

Credit - Ciara Irizarry
Credit - Ciara Irizarry

Assemblyman Colin Schmit of Orange County has also joined the fight to modify COVID-19 school guidelines "which are placing undue burden on New York schools and preventing them from re-opening fully in person," wrote in a letter to New York State Commissioner of Health Howard Zucker.

“It is time for New York to act. No more delays, no more hold-ups. Our students deserve to be back in the classrooms 5 days a week for in-person education. The latest update for the CDC makes it clear without a doubt that New York schools can distance 3 feet. It is time for the State Department of Health to get this done and issue the updated guidance necessary to get all New York students back in the classroom.”

Senator Mike Martucci joined Schmit, writing a letter to the Commissioner Zucker. "I have heard loud and clear from my local school Superintendents and county governments that they need clarity from the department on the rules."

The CDC recommends reduced social distancing in schools from 6 feet to 3 feet in classrooms if masks are worn. Middle school students and high school students should be at least 6 feet apart in communities where transmission is high.

“Safe in-person instruction gives our kids access to critical social and mental health services that prepare them for the future, in addition to the education they need to succeed," said CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky.

Irizarry says children, not just hers, need to be in a classroom, and not just to learn. "The mental health aspect is huge. The data says it’s safe to do so and many children and educators are suffering. Our children are caught in the middle of a political punting game."

A rally will be held at West Capital Park from 11am to 2pm on Monday, March 22nd. "Please join the fight and help give our children a voice," urged Irizarry.

CDC continues to recommend at least 6 feet of distance:

  • Between adults in the school building and between adults and students.
  • In common areas, such as school lobbies and auditoriums.
  • When masks can’t be worn, such as when eating.
  • During activities when increased exhalation occurs, such as singing, shouting, band practice, sports, or exercise. These activities should be moved outdoors or to large, well-ventilated spaces whenever possible.
  • In community settings outside of the classroom.

Several schools in central New York have reopened, some using a hybrid of in person and at home learning. The Rome City School District announced schools will be reopening for full-time in-person learning on Monday, April 12, 2021.

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