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With Syracuse schools remaining closed, graduation, next year’s plan, still to be determined

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO Public Media
Syracuse city schools Superintendent Jaime Alicea at Syracuse City Hall.

Syracuse City School District Superintendent Jaime Alicea said he agrees with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision to keep schools closed for the remainder of the academic year. More than 70% of students are working online, which will continue, as will delivering paperwork packets to students. The district has lent out thousands of laptops to students. Educational programming, taught by local teachers on WCNY public televisionwill continue as well. 

“We would love to have our students back, but we understand that we need to keep our community safe," Alicea said. "We agree that at this time, that’s one of the best decisions the governor made, to keep the schools closed for the remainder of the year.”

The district is looking at creative ways to hold some kind of graduation for seniors, whether it is done virtually, or diplomas are handed out to students in cars.

When schools do reopen, Alicea said a plan needs to be developed to keep students safe. The district is looking at how there will be social distancing within school buildings. Cafeterias may be off limits.

“We need to make sure that we’re ready when the kids are ready to come back, that we have a plan that will detail everything that we’re going to do for our kids, our staff and our families,” Alicea said.

That plan will have to align with guidance from the state education department.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.