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Decision No. 18,305

Appeal of TERRY RODRIGUEZ, on behalf of her child, from action of the Board of Education of the East Ramapo Central School District regarding remote instruction.

Decision No. 18,305

(July 17, 2023)

Harris Beach, PLLC, attorneys for respondent, Steven G. Carling, Esq, of counsel

ROSA., Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals the determination of the Board of Education of the East Ramapo Central School District (“respondent”) denying her request for remote instruction for her child (“student”).  The appeal must be dismissed.

Given the disposition of this appeal, a detailed recitation of the facts is unnecessary.  The student attended respondent’s schools during the 2021-2022 school year.  She received remote instruction until January 31, 2022, after which all non-immunocompromised students were required to return to in-person instruction.[1]  Petitioner requested remote instruction beyond that date, which respondent denied in December 2021.  This appeal ensued.  Petitioner’s request for interim relief was denied on July 21, 2022.

Petitioner argues that respondent’s policies regarding access to remote instruction were unfairly and discriminatorily applied.  She further contends that respondent’s decision was made in retaliation for positions she articulated at a recent board meeting  For relief, petitioner seeks a determination that the student “is entitled to [receive] ... remote instruction” from respondent during “the COVID pandemic.”

Respondent argues, among other things, that the appeal is untimely and that petitioner has failed to prove a clear legal right to her requested relief.

The appeal must be dismissed as moot.  The Commissioner will only decide matters in actual controversy and will not render a decision on a state of facts that no longer exists due to the passage of time or a change in circumstances (Appeal of Sutton, 57 Ed Dept Rep, Decision No. 17,331; Appeal of a Student with a Disability, 48 id. 532, Decision No. 15,940; Appeal of M.M., 48 id. 527, Decision No. 15,937; see Matter of Hearst Corp. v Clyne, 50 NY2d 707, 714 [1980]).  Where the Commissioner can no longer award a petitioner meaningful relief on his or her claims, no live controversy remains and the appeal must be dismissed (Appeal of R.B., 57 Ed Dept Rep, Decision No. 17,394; Appeal of N.C., 40 id. 445, Decision No. 14,522). 

Following the initiation of this appeal, the parties informed the Office of Counsel that petitioner voluntarily withdrew the student from respondent’s district to attend a nonpublic school.  Any determination at this juncture as to whether the student is entitled to remote instruction from respondent’s district, therefore, would be academic.[2]  Accordingly, no meaningful relief can be granted and the appeal must be dismissed as moot (Appeal of M.B., 62 Ed Dept Rep, Decision No. 18,241; Appeal of Cardenas, 62 id., Decision No. 18,187).  

In light of this determination, I need not address the parties’ remaining contentions.




[1] Respondent considered requests for remote instruction on behalf of immunocompromised students on a case-by-case basis.


[2] Additionally, insofar as petitioner’s request for relief was tied to the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal COVID-19 Public Health Emergency expired on May 11, 2023.