A high school student in New York has been suspended after he physically showed up to school when he's supposed to be learning at home.
Senior Maverick Stow went to class on the first day of school Tuesday at William Floyd High School on Long Island. He says his attendance was to protest the school's hybrid learning model that was adopted to allow schools to safely reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic. The school suspended Stow but he did it again the next day.
Stow doesn't plan on stopping but the next time he shows up to class, he could be arrested, the Mastic Beach school warned his parents in a letter on Wednesday.
"Your child is hereby warned that on the next occasion he is found illegally on any William Floyd School District property, the police will be notified and he will be prosecuted for third degree criminal trespass," the letter signed by Assistant Principal Lisa Paschitti read.
The school's hybrid learning plan divides 8,800 students into two groups, half of which are attending in-person learning on Monday-Tuesday and the other half will be in school Thursday-Friday. It is meant to allow for maximum social distancing when kids are in class and for the whole school to be cleaned and disinfected.
Even though Stow is facing an arrest if he breaks the rules again, he says he's going to keep showing up and that his parents support his decision to protest.
"I feel strongly that kids should be able to go to school five days a week," Stow said. "I hope that me facing the consequences for my actions are going to lead to potentially change in the schooling system and a 100% in-person learning solution."
In a statement released Wednesday, the school says it agrees that students should be in class five days a week but it has to follow social distancing requirements mandated by the state, which makes its decision based on the recommendation of health officials.
"We cannot have students showing up to school on their non-scheduled in-person days and when requested to leave displaying insubordinate behavior to multiple school officials and refusing to follow their instructions," the statement read. "His rights as a student do not surpass the rights of the other 8,799 students we have the privilege of educating. If his goal is to get school open five days per week, he is encouraged to take his advocacy to his state elected officials."
School reopenings across the state have already contributed to clusters of new COVID-19 cases, especially on college campuses -- but it is too early to tell if K-12 reopenings will cause an impact on the state's record-low infection rate.
A cluster of cases connected to end-of-summer parties on Long Island has forced one school district to cancel in-person learning, just two days before the scheduled start of classes. The Carle Place School District said a number of people who tested positive for COVID-19 "had close or proximate contact with other students throughout our district."
A number of colleges have also had to send students home for the remainder of the fall semester because of outbreaks. SUNY Oneonta did so last week as its COVID-19 cases spiked near 400, due in large part to illegal partying.
Going forward, every school district will have to submit COVID reports to the state daily -- and the state will issue COVID "report cards" for every school in the state, Cuomo said Tuesday. The accounting will include positive cases of students and staff and daily testing data, among other metrics. And if any school or college campus reaches 100 COVID cases, it will have to move to all-remote immediately.