Schools make decisions about reopening after holiday break

Kumi Tucker
Updated: January 04, 2021 08:55 PM
Created: January 04, 2021 07:10 PM

Students at Watervliet schools are back to work after the holidays. 

But some schools, like Bethlehem and Albany, decided to go to distance learning this week.  Albany cited 41 new cases in the vacation period alone. 

"The city school district of Albany is constantly watching our data. We're looking at the infection rate and how it has impacted the school district," said Albany School Superintendent Kaweeda G. Adams. 

Health officials are concerned about rising COVID numbers in the region, and if those numbers will rise even more dramatically after the holidays. 

At his news conference Saturday, Albany County Executive Dan McCoy called on school and state officials to close schools, taking many by surprise. 

"I thought that it scared parents a lot," said Dr. Lori Caplan, Watervliet School Superintendent.  "Completely blindsided superintendents because that was the first that we had heard that." 

McCoy addressed the issue again Monday.

"Yeah, I know I made some parents mad.  But I stand by what I said before, and I stand by it today," said McCoy.

Schools leaders have been meeting regularly throughout the pandemic, and this past weekend, local superintendents had an already-scheduled meeting with the Albany County health commissioner. 

Following that, many school districts like North Colonie sent out statements to affirm that their schools would reopen for in-person learning Monday.  

In Watervliet, Dr. Caplan said it's also about giving families options.   

School officials say data so far shows that the rate of virus transmission in schools is low. 

"And the governor assured us today in his press conference the same thing, that if the community spread and the infection rate in the community is higher than what's in schools, the obvious place for children to be is in school," said Dr. Caplan.  

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