Survey Questions and Candidate Responses

How should the state and its school districts deal with COVID-19 going forward?

John Rasimas | Participating Election
I believe it all depends on what our health professionals suggest. We have to be sure that the resulting advice we receive is firmly backed by the science, and that conflicting advice is thoroughly examined.
Cynthia Mangini | Participating Election
The state and schools should deal with COVID by monitoring case by case, and day to day. If the need arises, then masks should be required for all -not just staff, but children as well.
Tammy Nuccio | Participating Election
Children need to be in school. If nothing else, that is one of the main things we should take away from the lessons COVID taught us. The CDC policy now states if you are not symptomatic you don't have to test or quarantine for simple exposure. I think it's important that we are following that guidance and giving kids every opportunity to be in school in person and learning in the most suitable environment.
Jonathan Steinberg | Participating Election
I anticipate some surge during the winter, but expect most school districts to remain open and focused on in-person learning. Getting everyone vaccinated with the new omicron-focused booster is critical. It make be the best way to avoid any mandates. The Governor has been exemplary in dealing with the pandemic and expect he and his staff will continue to apply sound decision-making going forward.
Anne Hughes | Participating Election
Invest in PPE, testing, extend paid sick time for teachers, workers, on-site vaccination, invest in clean air ventilation in public spaces like schools, nursing homes, encourage masks indoors as a cultural norm default, especially when feeling unwell, incentivize more open-air spaces for gathering
Laura A. Fucci | Participating Election
With regard to COVID-19, the state and its school districts should promote vaccinations for students and staff; invest in ventilation systems, require masking and social distancing when there is a high risk and the infection rate has increased, allow for online materials and lessons when students are out sick or quarantining. Much of these protocols are already in place.
John Carlson | Participating Election
By treating it like the flu. We are one of only ten states with emergency powers still in place.
Kara Rochelle | Participating Election
I think the current system is working well now. Remote learning simply does not deliver the same quality of education, there was tremendous learning loss and social-emotional challenges for the students. Further, asking teachers to both teach in the classroom and remotely was an impossible task which we have now banned. Students are safely back in school now and it is my hope that Covid-19 can be managed without changing the current path we are on.
Edwin Vargas | Participating Election
We must continue our campaign to make vaccines accessible to all and continue encouraging safe practices.
MD Masudur Rahman | Participating Election
The state and school districts should work with the CDC in monitoring COVID, as they have done throughout the pandemic. While I'm thrilled with the progress we have made with our low infection rates and I do not want to see any more loss of education, we must make sure our students are safe. I was proud to help my community by distributing PPE and organizing vaccination clinics at our local community center, but we need to do more as a state to ensure that everyone is protected from COVID.
David Michel | Participating Election
It seems we are adapting well currently. As my mother is a teacher i do believe that a hybrid system is necessary to ensure also the safety of the teachers. There are also other issues in our schools that we are thankfully working on, such as mold etc.
Christine Palm | Participating Election
Teachers must be paid what they’re worth and I’d love to see us eventually make them eligible for Social Security. Our school buildings need HVAC emergency overhaul. And we need to make better use of our state’s gorgeous outdoor spaces. Remote learning may be here to stay -- at least in part -- and if so one teacher cannot possibly bear the load. Fastback certification for paraprofessionals who want to become fully accredited teachers and let them help with hybrid teaching. And we need to force masking in everyone who can wear one should the infection rate spike again.
Don Mastronardi | Participating Election
For one, no more remote learning and masks on our kids. Covid 19 will be here forever, just like the flu, and all the studies and statistics have shown that remote learning and masking our children had profound and lasting negative effects on their learning and social well being. We have to put covid behind us and learn from the mistakes and damage we caused on our children's learning and development.
Julie Kushner | Participating Election
The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating to so many people, and I’ve been glad to see life return to a semblance of normalcy finally this year. The best way to ensure that residents and students are able to hold onto that normalcy is to ensure that transmission rates remain low in our communities by making sure that it is easy for residents to get vaccinated and that schools have the funding for safety measures like ventilation. I have been appointed as the Senate Chair of the Working Group on Indoor Air Quality in Public Schools. We’ve been given responsibility to recommend legislation that will address aging HVAC systems, setting standards for temperature and humidity and standardized reports by licensed technicians. Of course, our ability to enact standards and attain acceptable air quality will also rely on adequate funding sources.
Robert Hotaling | Participating Election
The social development of students is best achieved with other students in a classroom. Classroom education with peers is the best model. However, there are circumstances where certain students are not able to attend due to health, disability or other where they need to learn in a structured, remote environment designed and dedicated to their needs. Both learning models need dedicated delivery of classroom or remote instruction, respectively. This offers better choices for students, parents, teachers and school administrators to use policies appropriate to their local district needs. Students and parents who wish to attend in-person should be fully vaccinated for infectious diseases (measles, polio, Covid-19, etc.) causing serious illness and death. If full vaccination is not possible, then the remote learning option would be made available. Regional delivery of the remote learning program and technology to support it would be supported.
Kimberly Becker | Participating Election
School districts and local health districts should work together to mitigate the risks of COVID-19 just as they have throughout the last two years. With vaccines and other as-needed strategies widely available, our local schools have the resources required to keep schools open and safe for students, teachers, and staff.
Jillian Gilchrest | Participating Election
As we have seen with COVID-19, things can change based on a variant so I think the state and school districts should remain alert. I think that people should continue to be offered accessible ways to obtain the COVID vaccine and boosters and that masks should be readily available.
Frank Smith | Participating Election
COVID-19 should never be taken lightly. While it appears that we have learned to live with this disease and our state’s interventions have proven to be effective, it is important that we continue to carefully consider expert medical advice if/when circumstances with the virus change
Bob Godfrey | Participating Election
Trust the science. Follow recommendations of medical professionals, the Department of Public Health, and the CDC.