With the recent guidance for reopening schools released by New York State, over the last few days I have heard from many school administrators, teachers, faculty and parents from our local school districts. While it is great to see guidance available for schools to create reopening plans, it is clear this will not be an easy decision and numerous factors will need to be weighed. It is imperative that teachers and faculty have a seat at the table when these decisions are being made so that any decision is a collaborate effort between educators and healthcare officials. We need to listen to our superintendents, teachers, and faculty because they understand what our students need to be successful.
A major concern for many North Country school districts is the affordability of the PPE and hand sanitizer that is required under the guidance. As an advocate for public education, I understand the current fiscal situation for our local school districts and share their concerns about the affordability of PPE and hand sanitizer. With that said, whether school districts can afford PPE and hand sanitizer should not have to be a factor in the decision to reopen because these items are a necessity for protecting students and educators. Nothing is more important than providing a safe environment for our children and their teachers and the least New York State can do is provide PPE and hand sanitizer for our public schools.
In the upcoming weeks, I will continue to advocate the State to provide PPE and hand sanitizer for schools to make sure that our local school districts have the proper equipment to keep our children and their educators safe. I will continue to listen to our local school districts to make sure that their voices are heard while these important decisions are made.