BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — Schools across New York State remain closed through April 29th. But New York City's mayor says he's ending the school year without Governor Cuomo's permission.
As 7 Eyewitness News senior reporter Eileen Buckley tells us, pressure is now mounting against the governor to end the rest of the school year by other districts.
“For the safety of our students, for our staff for our families — that the governor should make the call to close our schools for the remainder of the year,” said Larry Scott, at-large board member, Buffalo Public School District.
Scott tells 7 Eyewitness News it is too risky to have 36,000 city school children return to class for what’s left of the school year.
“There needs to be zero risk and I’m not seeing any possibly of there being zero risk by June,” Scott declared.
Jamestown Public School District Superintendent Bret Apthrope agrees.
“Until it's absolutely safe for kids, we're not going to have kids back in school,” Apthrope remarked.
“What would you say to Governor Cuomo right now about the rest of the school year?” Buckley asked. “I would say to him it's time to plan for reality, which is, the kids won't be coming back to school this year and let's get our heads wrapped around that and let's plan for making the absolute best lemonade we can with the lemons we have,” replied Arpthrope.
“If it can be done safely, then, of course, I think we would all like to have students back,” stated Michael Cornell, superintendent, Hamburg Central School District.
Hamburg District leader Cornell says he does not agree with Arpthrope or Scott and really wants students back in the classroom. Cornell says he trusts the governor will make the best decision for the safety of students.
“I’m going to leave it to the Governor’s discretion of leadership to tell us when we come back,” Cornell responded. “If we don't come back, then we will do our best to make sure that students learn now until the end of the school year and try to make sure we are ready for students to come back in September.”
These educators say the two week increments, used by the governor to gage school closings, is making it very hard on everyone. that's why the Jamestown District is planning ahead.
“On April 21st we're going to release a plan to the community, students and our faculty on what does the rest of the school year look like,” Apthrope noted. “I'm preparing to reload our students and faculty with resources to get them through the rest of the year."
Educators say they need a final determination sooner than later in order to create a long-term plan for students.”
“Because people are going to need some reassurance that it’s safe for their children to come back,” Cornell noted.
Governor Cuomo has waived the 180-requirement day for school instruction, school districts wont lose state aid.
“If we had a final determination, it would make it easy for us to have a long term plan in place so that we can get through this year as best we can and remotely,” Scott explained.
One Buffalo private, Catholic school announced it would end it’s school year. Bishop Timon-St. Jude High School closed out its school year and remote learning on Friday, April 3rd.
7 Eyewitness News also checked with some other Catholic high schools. Mount St. Mary Academy in Tonawanda said it was moving forward with distance learning. Canisius High School in Buffalo said it has “no plans to end the school year early at this point.” Canisius moved it’s classes on line March 23rd and continues distance learning.