Huntington school superintendent James W. Polansky has written to Gov. Kathy Hochul and Dr. Mary Bassett, state health commissioner, to urge the state to communicate with districts about how and when schools might be able to return to a more normal situation.
“Since last summer, as educational leaders were crafting their 2021-2022 opening plans, we have asked for metric related guidance suggesting when specific mitigation measures (e.g., masking, distancing) can be relaxed or removed…In sum and substance, there has been no action in this regard. The answer to such questions is routinely in the general format, ‘now is not the time.’
“So I ask the question, ‘when is the time?’ The state owes it to schools and families to establish these ‘off-ramps’ and set reasonable expectations for return to a greater sense of normalcy. The inexplicable aversion toward engaging in meaningful discussions about such metrics has made the situation infinitely more challenging for everyone. Continuous mandate extensions, while generating no true understanding of the conditions under which they will conclude, are simply increasing confusion, frustration and tension.”
Since Covid-19 arrived in the winter of 2020, schools have often borne the burden of rapidly changing directives as knowledge about the disease and how to cope with it evolved. From sudden orders to close the schools for what was supposed to be a few days that became months, to coping with the need to provide remote learning, to cleaning and spacing, vaccine and mask mandates, schools have been trying to function as normally as possible. In the process, they have been in the middle of debates over those mandates and how best to cope, with parents, politicians, teachers and students all arguing their often contradictory views.
Letter to Governor & DOH Commissioner (2022-01-29) (1)