Board to resume in-person meetings; pre-registration required for attendance

After more than a year of only meeting virtually due to COVID-19, the Fayetteville-Manlius School District Board of Education is planning to resume in-person board meetings on May 10. 

The board plans to continue the practice of streaming its meetings in real-time so residents may watch from home or on-the-go from their mobile devices. Meetings will also be archived on F-M’s official YouTube channel for later viewing. 

“While the pandemic brought many challenges to school district operations, it also generated a number of new initiatives that we see value in continuing, such as streaming our meetings so residents can watch on their terms,” Board President Marissa Joy Mims said. 

Amid concerns of the COVID-19 public health crisis, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order last year exempting municipal and school boards from provisions of the state Open Meetings Law that require public access to locations where government meetings are conducted. Over the past year, the Open Meetings Law exemption has been extended a number of times. The current exemption expires May 6.

To adhere to social distancing guidelines, the board will temporarily be holding its in-person meetings in room 1209 of F-M High School, beginning with its May 10 meeting. Because of space constraints, attendees will be limited to 15 individuals, not including board members and administrative staff required to attend. Meeting attendees must use the high school’s House 1 entrance. 

The district had explored holding meetings in other spaces, such as cafeterias or auditoriums, but they were ruled out because of the turnaround time custodial staff would need to prepare the spaces for the meetings and then cleaning and returning them to student-focused spaces for the next school day.

Meeting registration required

Anyone wishing to attend a board meeting in person will be required to pre-register online or contact District Clerk Sarah Gridley at 315-692-1200 if unable to register online. Pre-registration will ensure that audience capacity is not exceeded and allow the district to collect information that may be necessary if COVID-19 contact tracing needs to be conducted after a meeting.

A registration link will be shared on the district website prior to each meeting. 

“Some people may want to attend our meetings in person, but we expect the vast majority to tune in live or watch the meetings at a convenient time for themselves, much as they have done since last spring,” Mims said.  

Per its COVID-19 school reopening plan and state and county public health guidelines, the district requires all visitors to its buildings to wear face masks. Board meeting attendees will be required to wear a face mask while in the school and throughout the duration of the board meetings. The district will have hand sanitizer onsite and face masks available for those who may need one.