Unfinished business for the schools

Newsmaker of the month: A sudden, but expected closing

Never before have schools closed so suddenly in New York state. But on May 1, the tough decision was announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Students, who had a final day in the building to pick up materials in mid March, could have never envisioned the long break that they were beginning. COVID-19 allowed those individuals to do work from home while being connected to classrooms via online platforms.

“It’s critical that we protect our students from this virus, and given the current circumstances we are in we do not think it is possible to put the necessary precautions in place that would allow us to reopen schools this academic year,” Cuomo said in making the announcement.

This has not been an easy proposition — and some of it has come with some pain. Senior members in the Class of 2020 are going through something no other class of graduates has ever experienced.

“While this is understandable and health is the most important part, it is unfortunate,” said Michael Mansfield, new Dunkirk schools superintendent. “It’s unfortunate for seniors and sports players.”

The last three months of the most precious times of someone’s life has been taken away by a virus that has wreaked havoc on every piece of our society and across the globe. Graduation ceremonies remain up in the air. Some are planning to hold the events at football fields while others have talked about drive-by venues.

We hope seniors have some say in this. They have already lost so much in what should have been an unforgettable year in other ways.

Looking ahead, district officials across the region are scrambling to come up with plans to reopen schools. Will buildings open in September?

That is a question, at this time, that cannot be answered.


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