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Parents, community leaders asking Buffalo Public Schools to offer remote learning option

Students are required to be in-person
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Posted at 5:10 PM, Aug 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-17 17:33:27-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Parents and community leaders are asking the Buffalo School District to continue offering virtual learning as an option.

“You have a doctorate in your child,” Duncan Kirkwood, Parent Advocate, said. “You know what’s best. If the remote was working, you should have the option.”

As of right now, all students are expected to return in-person to the classroom full-time unless the student has a doctor’s note for medical leave instruction.

“A lot of our children need in person learning, but there are some students that excelled with online learning,” Kirkwood said.

Kirkwood, wants students to at least have a choice to attend school virtually if that’s how they learn best.

“I have three kids. Two of them need to be back in the classroom five days a week,” Kirkwood said. “But, my daughter, my oldest, excelled in remote learning."

A recent study by One-Poll found 70 percent of parents think children focus better while learning remotely.

I asked a BPS spokesperson how many families out of the over 30,000 BPS students have requested a virtual option, and I have not heard back.

“We don’t even know how many students would want the option and why because parents are not being asked,” Dr. Wendy Mistrette, District Parent Coordinating Council (NYEC) said.

Back when the district was only doing remote learning, community centers and churches provided students with internet access and supervision while they were learning.

“We did what they would not do, yet there is nothing in the plan that includes the churches or the community centers,” Pastor William Gillison said. “To us, that’s a slap in the face.”

With no student learning remotely, those sights are no longer being funded.

A district spokesperson referred me to the BPS’ opening letter, which says the school’s plans may change because of the “dominant covid delta variant.”

“We might be back in a remote option anyways, so I think this is something that the school should be looking at to be limber enough to switch over,” Urban Think Tank’s Bishop Michael Badger, said.

The next Board of Education meeting is Wednesday, August 17 at 5:30 at City Hall.