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Regional News

With no guidance from NYS, schools are starting to roll out reopening plans

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At a Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, Fulton’s Superintendent, Brian Pulvino, announced the district’s highly anticipated COVID-19 reopening plan for this school year.

“So all pre-k-12 students will attend in-person learning five days a week with a full schedule,” said Pulvino. “Masks will be required for all individuals for all indoor events, regardless of vaccination status, masks not required for outdoor events, masks required for all individuals when on buses.”

That decision didn’t come without pushback from some board members questioning who had the authority to make these decisions now that the state announced it wouldn’t be giving reopening guidance.

On Wednesday, Syracuse City School District officials announced that it will both require masks regardless of vaccination status and require proof of vaccination for all employees or regular testing.

In Syracuse’s Catholic Diocese, which oversees 21 schools around central New York, Superintendent William Crist said masks will be required for the unvaccinated, but everything else is left largely up to the schools.

“And then other students and faculty members who are vaccinated it would be up to the local school and their local health departments,” said Crist.

In Onondaga County, Executive Ryan McMahon said that he expects to release guidance for districts by the end of this week.

“It will be comprehensive, it will be very thoughtful, and it will answer all the questions that people have in the community,” he said.

McMahon said there’s no situation where masks aren’t involved, but many decisions will be dependent on the positivity rates in different communities.

“There will certainly be part mask-wearing in schools will be part of the guidance and it's not as simple as just yes wear it or don't wear it that you have to look at the facts on the ground and the community as well,” he said.

One thing nearly every school district seems to agree on is that they want their students in person as much as possible. McMahon agrees.

“Our opinion is very strong that we believe in-person learning is a must,” said McMahon.