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Buffalo, NY | Local News, Weather, Traffic, Sports | WGRZ.com

NYS begins process to reopen schools

Some schools have been doing remote learning or a combination of remote learning and in-school learning since March of last year due to the pandemic.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

ALBANY, N.Y. — New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo says he wants to hear from local school districts so they can work towards reopening schools.

Some schools have been doing remote learning or a combination of remote learning and in-school learning since March of last year due to the pandemic.

Last month, President Joe Biden issued an executive order aimed at offering guidance to help schools reopen and offering assistance from FEMA to help with PPE and cleaning in schools.

Governor Cuomo says that he wants to know from local school districts and county health departments how many teachers have been vaccinated so far, and how many are doing in-person learning, as well as what percentage of the week is now in class.

Cuomo says many teachers have expressed concern about returning to the classroom before they are vaccinated. 

"I think we need clarity on that matter because opening school is very important for children, as we know it has economic consequences," said Cuomo on Monday. 

Earlier this month, the CDC announced guidelines for reopening schools, emphasizing mask wearing and social distancing and saying vaccination of teachers is important, but not a prerequisite for reopening.

They said there is strong evidence now that in-person schooling can be done safely, especially at lower grade levels, and the guidance is targeted at schools that teach kindergarten up to 12th grade.

The agency also emphasized hand washing, disinfection of school facilities, diagnostic testing and contact tracing to find new infections and separate infected people from others in a school.

School districts can begin reporting to the state on Wednesday, and will be asked for the information weekly. 

Teachers are currently eligible to be vaccinated as they fall into the 1b group. 

(COLLIN BINKLEY and MIKE STOBBE from the Associated Press contributed to this article)