Schools are unable to put the coronavirus pandemic in the rear-view mirror as more parents call for less in-person instruction amid fears that new cases will spike as students gather.
New York will unveil an additional public coronavirus interactive tool known as a dashboard in the coming days that will track COVID-19 diagnostic tests across schools statewide as in-person classes are scheduled to resume next week.
The state’s 713 public school districts each submitted plans to the state Health Department and Empire State Development last month on how they will safely reopen buildings to in-person learning or instruction.
School officials detailed how they would enforce face coverings and social distancing for students and how many students, faculty and staff a district plans to test for the virus each week.
But the dashboard is simply a measuring device. It can’t enforce state mandates or ensure school reopening procedures will work as planned. Even Gov. Andrew Cuomo is offering no guarantees.
“Those plans are only as good as their implementation,” Cuomo said Thursday during a call with reporters. “Parents and teachers are obviously concerned about schools reopening, and they should be.”
On the other hand, the dashboard can provide important information.
“That information will be posted online as soon as we get it,” Cuomo said. “Parents and teachers will know how many tests were conducted and what the results of those tests are.”
The dashboard data will hold districts accountable and prove they are following the testing guidelines approved by state officials.
We hope, too, it will give parents and teachers some confidence as they prepare to expect the unexpected nine days from today. If the plans aren’t being implemented, the state wants to know about it. And if there are problems, the sooner parents and teachers know about them, the better.