BUFFALO, N.Y. — Buffalo Public Schools announced Thursday morning during a press conference that the district will begin the school year fully-remote.
Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash said the decision to begin the school year on a fully-remote basis was a unanimous decision among district and school board officials.
Kriner Cash also announced that school will begin for Buffalo Public School staff on September 1.
The district will work toward a hybrid model and a full in-person model, "maybe sometime this year," Cash said. "It'll depend on the science" to change from fully-remote to hybrid model.
Buffalo Board of Education President Sharon Belton-Cottman said that the district worked six months to arrive at decision to begin school year with all remote learning for city students.
"Everyone should be concerned about what is happening in urban America," said Belton-Cottman.
Pres. Belton-Cottman also added that it took longer to make school reopening decisions because the district has 33,000+ students.
Superintendent said that electronic devices for students in Pre-K to Grade. 2 have been ordered. Students in Grades 3-12 will also have devices as they did in the spring.
"All of our students will have devices as long as we can get it to them." Dr. Cash says volunteers will go door-to-door to deliver them if needed.
All school sites will be open 2 days per week, providing meals to students for the entire week. Dr. Kriner Cash added that 2.9 million meals have been served since pandemic started among only 28 school sites in Buffalo.
Again, for staff members, school starts September 1. Staff will have one week of professional development and training and follow their regular contractual workday. Teachers will hold one-on-one meetings and office hours virtually in addition to teaching the virtual classroom of students.
"Will at any point teachers be expected to come in and do virtual learning or will they be at their homes doing the instruction?" asked 2 On Your Side's Karys Belger.
"That's a great question. The expectation of us is that at least to start, two to three days per week, you come into school, you come and we'd like to see as many teachers as want to and can and don't have, you know, preexisting conditions or really, really serious health concerns," said Dr. Cash.
And for families, when classes start September 8, students will have devices to learn at home if they don't already have them. They will get a full day of instruction, and meal services will continue with all school sites open in September.
"Nobody's perfected this yet for our youngsters, and there's a whole plethora of resources that we put online for our parents for each grade level," Cash said Thursday.