Details are starting to leak out from local school districts on how they plan to reopen schools in September during the current pandemic. How difficult is it for schools and what will they look like when kids reenter the classrooms after Labor Day? Or will they?

That was the question asked of Dr. Richard Timbs of the Statewide School Finance Consortium in Syracuse on Thursday during the Keeler Show. Timbs, from New Hartford and a former Superintendent of Schools at Oriskany, has been consulting districts on how to reopen since the shutdown occurred in March.

A major part of the problem is ultimately going to be finance.

"I really expect we're going to have a really tough situation here in just the social part of this whole thing," said Timbs. "But also, there's going to be a cash register ringing here. I mean school districts are going to be eating up reserves if they have them because all this is generally un-budgeted."

Timbs talked about the complexities of re-opening from challenges with bussing to social distancing and even down to how will school districts pay for masks and hand sanitizer.

This week some school districts have announced their plans to re-open, as they're required to offer a re-opening plan to the state in hopes of guilting it approved.

Rome schools announced that they plan to open schools with social distancing across all of their properties for students K through eight. Students grades 9 through 12 will distant learn.

Central Valley Academy told their teachers that they preliminarily plan to open with elementary students reporting at 100%, and students in grades 9 through 12 will distant learn. Parents will be expected to take the temperature of their child before they leave for school and will be asked to keep their child home if he or she is running a temperature.

At New Hartford, the district is leaning towards a hybrid plan for all students, meaning the students t population will be split in half into an A and B group. The plan is that group A would report on Monday and Tuesday and group B would report on Thursday and Friday. Distant learning would make up the remainder of the week for students.

One of the issues that is a problem for school districts is if students aren't in school all five days, how do parents deal with child care, mainly with younger students.

Timbs said this is going to be very challenging and everyone needs to be very patient and understanding as the districts try to maneuver through very complicated un-chartered waters.

Listen to the interview here:


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