BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — Major preparation work is underway in the Buffalo Public School District to serve meals and prepare lesson plans for thousands of city school kids. The district announced Sunday that Buffalo Schools would be closed until April 20th in addressing the rapidly changing situation with COVID-19
“This is serious, I mean, we're talking about life or death here,” declared Phil Rumore, president, Buffalo Teachers Federation (BTF).
Rumore says as the district is dealing with an "unprecedented" situation. He says the number one reason teachers were asked to report Monday was to put together learning packets, so students don't fall behind.
“That's a lot of time to lose and it's not going to be easy to make it up, so teachers are on board. They have misgivings about being in and are concerned, but they're there,” Rumore explained.
But beyond the lesson plan, thousands of city school children rely on the district to feed them breakfast and lunch. Between now and April 20th, when schools are tentatively set to reopen, the district is expecting to serve between 40,000 and 50,000 meals each day.
28 city schools will be open for parents/guardians to pick up student meals between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. starting Tuesday.
Phil Rumore, president, Buffalo Teachers Federation (BTF). at the corner of Niagara Street and Porter Avenue, will be one of the sites for distribution.
“At least a third of their entire lives is wrapped up around public education, so it's going to be a culture shock,” noted James Giles, pastor, Back to Basics Outreach Ministries and coordinates Buffalo Peacemakers.
Giles say he has reached out to some school principals and school board members offering help to deliver food or medical items.
“We are deeply concerned about this impact that it's going to have on children, not only on the sustenance of basic needs, but the trauma that they may experience because of this,” Giles said.
The leader of the teachers union says no one should under estimate the seriousness of the situation.
“Our objective is that no student, no adult — you know — get the virus,” Rumore stated.
Ironically, Rumore has a sign posted on his desk that state's “When nothing is certain, everything is possible’ — a hopeful message as we all endure a new normal.