BINGHAMTON, NY (WSKG) — Oneonta schools announced this week they will reopen with a hybrid model of in-person and remote instruction, but not until Oct. 12.
For the first month of the school year, all students will learn at-home and online, with exceptions for the district’s special education and English Language Learning students.
According to Superintendent Tom Brindley, the delayed start will allow the district to assess the impact students returning to SUNY Oneonta and Hartwick College have on the spread of COVID-19.
“We have no idea what impact such a large influx of students during this time will have on the collective health of our community,” Brindley said.
Combined the colleges typically bring around 7,000 students to the area. Both schools are offering remote learning and in-person instruction this fall.
Brindley said he hopes university students will continue to interact with the local community, but do so safely by following state precautions.
Reopening remotely is one of the many choices some of the 700 school districts across the state are attempting to reduce the spread of COVID-19 as they approach the start of the school year. Keeping students at home, however, comes with financial implications for families.
Brindley said reopening frameworks from the State Education Department and Department of Health offered districts few good options that would keep students and parents safe, as well keep costs low for families with essential workers.
“These aren’t the decisions that local school districts should be making,” Brindley said. “These are the decisions that should be coming from our state and federal governments.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo said he will issue his decision on whether schools can partially or fully reopen later this week.