Judge moves toward 3' social distancing in school reopening lawsuit

22 hours ago

Local parents who went to court to force their school districts to return to in-class learning five days a week have been put on hold.

State Supreme Court Judge Emilio Colaiacovo has denied the request for immediate action to compel the districts to fully reopen, but will be revisiting the case in the coming days.

Colaiacovo asked state officials to explain why New York schools are still requesting 6' social-distancing measures among students while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last month modified the practice to 3'. The judge also wanted two of the four districts involved in the suit -- Orchard Park and Williamsville -- to present their full reopening plans to him next week.   

After lawyers for the Williamsville School District reported to Colaiacovo Tuesday that the district has a plan for re-opening five days a week which no one has seen, and then lawyers for Orchard Park schools told him they didn’t know if their district had a plan, the judge called for an immediate response.

The judge told state lawyers he wants a decision in a week about shifting to student desks 3' apart, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention allows, and wants court hearings in three weeks on whether he should order the new rules enforced quickly.

Parents in both districts are represented by lawyer Paul Cambria, who said he understands the stress of home schooling because his son is in that group.