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Classrooms across NYS will have to evolve to maintain health, safety of students

Public schools in New York don’t know if they will reopen this year or not.

However, they do know that significantly enhanced safety measures will follow when the decision comes down from Albany.

What will that mean? What will that look like?

Well, face coverings, or masks will be the norm, social distancing efforts will be made inside classrooms, and new disinfecting rules will be in place.

“I do foresee, once you hit that secondary level of students maybe choosing to wear a mask, and staff doing the same,” said Dr. Thomas Putnam, the superintendent of the Penfield Central School District told 13WHAM. “So that’s one of those great questions we don’t have a solid answer for yet, but we’re looking at everything.”

There are a lot of questions – like how buses will be cleaned between runs, how classrooms will be disinfected throughout the day, and what that will mean for student experience.

Mick Gee, who serves as head of school for Allendale Columbia says class size will be a big emphasis.

That’s an ironic twist, since class size typically increases as funding for individual districts decreases. Governor Andrew Cuomo says a 20% cut should be expected across the board – and that includes school districts – if federal funding is not secured.

“I think people are going to be paying attention to class size, the amount of space each student’s got,” Gee told 13WHAM. “Breaks, lunches, food preparation, those big times we all come together, like assemblies, are all probably going to be modified.”