Lawmakers and education advocates across New York are calling for a remote option, as students head back to the classroom for the 2021-22 academic year.
School districts across the state are reopening in the coming days, after traditional education went out the window as the coronavirus pandemic prompted economic and physical lockdowns during much of 2020.
However, some are concerned about the Delta and Mu variants, as well as rising case numbers across the state. Especially in less vaccinated communities.
“Remote learning has been tough for some, but not all parents,” explained Jasmine Gripper, the executive director of the Alliance for Quality Education. “If a few parents decide to keep their children home with a remote option, the safety of our schools increases particularly in communities where overcrowded classrooms are the norm. These overcrowded classrooms are predominantly filled with low-income Black and Brown students.”
Schools do have universal masking policies in place. Adult personnel will also be tested regularly or have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
However, that’s not enough for some who view remote learning as a necessity as long as COVID-19 is in the community.
“Since districts have not made any significant effort to reduce class sizes since COVID-19 began, not offering a remote learning option puts those students in the most crowded classrooms at greatest risk of contracting COVID and spreading it to their families and communities,” Gripper added. “That means that it is Black and Brown students most at risk by the decision to only offer in-person instruction.”
Lawmakers in the New York City area have called for remote options. However, school officials across the state say it’s not possible without additional staff, resources, and time that the state did not provide them.
FingerLakes1.com is the region’s leading all-digital news publication. The company was founded in 1998 and has been keeping residents informed for more than two decades. Have a lead? Send it to [email protected]