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State Ed. Dept. Needs To Answer Simple Questions

Southwestern Central School District officials have been waiting months to have a simple question answered — how should they properly handle transportation of unvaccinated children?

To its credit, the state Education Department has issued guidance on the situation. Unfortunately, the guidance Southwestern Central School officials have received from the state has been as clear as mud.

Maureen Donahue, district superintendent, told school board members last week that it isn’t clear if school districts can have unvaccinated students riding the school bus with students who have received their vaccinations.

“We have about four different interpretations,” she said of the regulation change. “We’ve been given some clarification and there’s still questions.”

Currently, the district has transported Amish students in district vehicles but on a separate bus from Southwestern students. While that arrangement certainly adheres to the law, it is also more costly for taxpayers who have to pay for additional bus runs.

There is no reason why, after an entire summer and now almost a full month of school, a school district can’t get a clear, concise answer to a fairly simple question. Can unvaccinated kids ride the same bus as their vaccinated peers or not? The issue is not complicated. There is no gray area. Either they can or they can’t.

How can we expect the state Education Department to come up with an acceptable framework to teach our children if the department can’t handle giving simple guidance to school districts regarding bus runs for unvaccinated children?

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