FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Board of Regents and State Education Department Announce Regional Reopening Task Force Meetings
The New York State Board of Regents and State Education Department today announced four Regional School Reopening Task Force meetings will be held virtually to gather input needed to develop guidance and regulatory changes that will enable New York’s schools to continue safely educating their students this fall.
“As we continue to consider what our educational communities will look like next school year, our paramount concern is to ensure the health and safety of children and adults in our schools,” said Chancellor Betty A. Rosa. “Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have witnessed firsthand the inequity in educational opportunities and resources available to our children and we will keep educational equity at the forefront of our decision-making.”
“The monumental impact COVID-19 has had on New York coupled with the diverse landscape of our state makes the task of developing a framework to reopen our schools a significant undertaking,” said Interim Commissioner Shannon Tahoe. “The input we receive from task force members at the regional meetings will inform our work as we develop the guidance and regulatory changes that schools need to best support their students.”
During the meetings, Board of Regents members and the Department will gather input from each regional task force which will be comprised of diverse groups of more than 200 stakeholders from each region. Each regional task force will have individuals representing teachers, parents, administrators, school board members, non-instructional school personnel, experts and stakeholders from the fields of health and education. Task force members will provide their expertise, answer questions and give feedback to the Board of Regents and the Education Department.
Specifically, each regional task force will provide input in nine areas:
- health and safety;
- teaching and learning;
- social-emotional needs;
- special education;
- bilingual education and multilingual learners/bilingual learners;
- digital equity and access;
- budget and fiscal;
- transportation, facilities, and nutrition; and
- staffing/human resources.
These issues will all be examined through the “equity lens” to ensure that all students benefit fairly from any regulatory and policy changes that are made.
Each Regional Task Force meeting will include a presentation regarding health and safety from infectious disease expert Dr. Jack DeHovitz, MD, MPH, FACP. Dr DeHovitz is a Distinguished Service Professor with the Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases at SUNY Downstate Medical Center. In addition to his work as a professor, Dr. DeHovitz serves as an attending infectious disease physician at SUNY Downstate Medical Center and Kings County Hospital Center.
The meetings will also include a presentation on Social Emotional Learning from Natalie Walrond, Director, Center to Improve Social and Emotional Learning and School Safety. In this role, Ms. Walrond works nationally to build state and local capacity to integrate evidence-based approaches to social and emotional development and school safety with academic teaching and learning.
Phases of Work
Phase I: Four virtual Regional Task Force Meetings will be held to gather regional and stakeholder feedback. The meetings will take place June 15th and 17th and June 22nd and 24th.
Phase II: With the assistance of the West Ed’s Region 2 Comprehensive Center, the Board and the Department will synthesize the feedback received at the regional meetings and the Department will develop proposed guidance and regulatory changes.
Phase III: Guidance documents will be presented for discussion at the July 13, 2020 meeting of the Board of Regents.
As the Board of Regents and the State Education Department work to create the guidance and regulatory changes, they will be guided by the following principles:
- The health, safety, and well-being of the children and adults is paramount.
- Educational equity will be at the forefront of decision-making.
- One size does not fit all. New York is a large state, in population and size. There is tremendous diversity among New York’s people, geographic regions, and schools and school districts.
- While it is important to provide districts with guidelines and policies, it is important as well to give them appropriate leeway to develop creative solutions to their unique challenges.
- Districts will be enabled and encouraged to work directly with parents, teachers, administrators, and their local communities to develop and deliver workable solutions to their unique needs and succeed through a collective effort.
- Planning for schools to reopen is not a one-time event. The Board and Department will continuously monitor the situation and provide updated guidance, policies, and regulatory changes as the situation requires.
Regional Task Force Meeting members will be posted on the Department’s website prior to each meeting with the first group being posted later this week. The breakdown of counties and their respective regional meeting is as follows:
|Regional Task Force Meeting||Counties|
|REGIONAL MEETING 1
June 15 – 2:00 - 5:00 p.m.
Vice Chancellor Brown
|REGIONAL MEETING 2
June 17 – 2:00 - 5:00 p.m.
Vice Chancellor Brown
|REGIONAL MEETING 3
June 22 – 8:30 -11:30 a.m.
|REGIONAL MEETING 4
June 24 – 8:30 -11:30 a.m.
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