(Editor’s Note: The following submission comes from Monroe County school board member Sue Woltanski.)

Get informed. Choose wisely.

On March 29, parents of 6-12th grade students in Monroe County School District will be given the OPTION of returning to school five days a week. Parents are asked to complete a survey, as soon as possible, identifying their choice. Parents may choose to continue in the current A/B schedule. 

Please understand, in most classrooms, adequate social distancing will not be possible if all students return five days a week, though we will do our best to provide as much social distancing as possible. If adequate social distancing were possible with full student populations, our schools would already be open.

Monroe’s rate of COVID cases per 100,000 people remains in the CDC’s “High Transmission Red” level, warranting strict mitigation efforts. It is this data, concern about more new infectious variants and recent evidence of transmission WITHIN our Monroe classrooms, that led our local health department to continue to advise the A/B schedule, which allows appropriate social distancing.

If your child is struggling in the A/B system, I truly hope their return to five days will be successful. Everyone else should understand that the choice to remain on the A/B schedule will help keep everyone safer.

Without the ability to social distance, expect more quarantines, more classroom closures and possibly building closures, when cases occur on our campuses. Understand that the return is mandated by the state, but does not comply with CDC guidance nor come with the advice of our local department of health.

Monroe County currently has the lowest pediatric positivity rate and the lowest overall death rate in the state. By utilizing an A/B day schedule for our 6-12th grade students, we have been able to bring 96% of our students back to campus.

All parents of 6-12th grade students should respond to the district survey so our schools can plan for the return. For the sake of our students, teachers and entire community, please choose wisely.

Sue Woltanski, M.D.

Dr. Woltanski is a Monroe County school board member. Her views here are her own.

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