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Buffalo school students urged to bring home technology devices over break

"There's anxiety — there are questions"
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Posted at 4:57 PM, Dec 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-21 17:34:44-05

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — All Buffalo Public School students and staffers have been asked to make sure they pack up their school technology items when they leave this week for Christmas break.

“There's no justification at this point to be considering full remote instruction district wide,” remarked Larry Scott, Buffalo School Board member.

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Larry Scott, Buffalo School Board member in Zoom interview.

There is mixed reaction to a letter issued to families and staff Monday.

The letter states due to the uncertainty of the “COVID epidemic”, the district is asking “all students and staff” to take home their laptops/iPads when they head home Thursday for the holiday break.

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Buffalo Public School District letter.

"We just want parents and families to enjoy their time off and please try not to worry,” responded Kate Haq, executive board member, Buffalo Parent Teacher Organization (BPTO).

Haq says she supports Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash's decision to be prepared in case the pandemic worsens before students return January 3.

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Kate Haq, executive board member, Buffalo Parent Teacher Organization, in Zoom interview.

“We understand Dr. Cash's concern and need to make sure parents and families are prepared, in case of some catastrophic worldwide pandemic,” said Haq.

But board member Scott disagrees saying nothing is indicating the need to consider remote learning.

Scott says the full board should be part of these decisions.

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Buffalo school students in remote, home learning last school year.

“To shut down the entire district — all of our schools — to me is a bigger decision and given our current circumstances, I think the Board of Education needs to be part of that decision making process,” responded Scott.

“Have you heard from parents today about this?” Buckley asked.

“Yes, starting last night that anxiety of what's to come. The message triggered that anxiety of it sounds like we're getting ready to go remote and child care is obviously an issue if that happens,” Scott replied.

But the district letter says there is “no decision or timetable” to go remote, it is only to be prepared.

“But I think we're all concerned about what's going to happen over this long — long break,” said Phil Rumore, president, Buffalo Teachers Federation.

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Phil Rumore, president, Buffalo Teachers Federation, in Zoom interview.

Rumore says he thinks it's a very good idea for students and staffers to be prepared.

“What was you reaction to the letter that went out from the district?" Buckley questioned.

“I thought it was a good idea. We always have to be prepared for the worst. You don't wait until something has happened, but I think what he did was a good thing to do,” Rumore answered.

The district declined our request for an interview but noted the superintendent would be meeting with the district's medical advisory.

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But both Scott and Haq agree that they want students to remain in school for in-person learning.

“Our kids need to be in school, in-person, even more than our students in the suburbs,” noted Scott.

“Nobody wants to go remote. The district doesn't want to go remote and families don't want to go remote,” Haq replied.