NEW YORK — As the state gets closer to the end of the stay at home order — now set for May 15 — there is more and more talk about how society will begin to reopen. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said that once certain requirements are met — including declines in new positive coronavirus cases, hospital capacity, testing increases and contact tracing — manufacturing, construction and some retail could be allowed to get back to work.
If all goes well after two weeks, then professional services, additional retailers and real estate could be allowed to reopen their doors, the New York Times said.
Next up would be hospitality services, such as restaurants, bars and hotels, followed by entertainment, such as movies and theaters.
Missing in all this are schools. Cuomo announced at the beginning of May that public schools in the state would remain closed through the end of the academic year. Remote learning is to continue until that time, and no decision has been made regarding summer school or, for that matter, the fall.
The governor has discussed working with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to “reimagine education” because of the intricacies of opening public schools where social distancing might still be necessary. He said there need to be new ways to incorporate technology and move away from the old model of education where everyone sits in a classroom.
Dr. George Stone, superintendent of the Lakeland Central School District, said the challenges of reopening schools are daunting. He used buses as one example.
If required to keep students 6 feet apart, the number of bus runs would double. Classrooms would have to be reduced in size, and lunch periods would pose enormous challenges.
Some teachers objected to talk of “reimagining,” saying remote learning will never replace the personal connection between students and their teachers. And there will also be a need for social workers, mental health counselors and other services not easily provided remotely.
Now it’s your turn to weigh in on the topic. Vote in our unscientific poll and tell us what you think in the comments.
This article originally appeared on the Bedford-Katonah Patch