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State's school closure approach to COVID-19 draws mixed reviews

Posted at 4:26 PM, Apr 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-23 10:43:04-04

Like many parents these days, Kathryn Bundy is wearing several hats while working from home. The Buffalo mom to eight-year-old son Gareth is also an elementary school principal at the Buffalo Science Charter School. As a parent, she’s tired of the two-week school closure extensions issued by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The state had previously said schools were to remain closed until April 29. However, the state extended the statewide closure until May 15.

“I do wish the state would just bite the bullet and say yes schools aren’t coming back,” Bundy said. “I can not only plan academically with him. But, I can also social-emotionally get him prepared for that. That no you’re not going back, you’re not going to see your friends instead of saying I don’t know. Maybe you’ll be back in a few weeks,” Bundy added.

Bundy said it’s also difficult as a principal planning for the short term, which is why her teachers are operating under the assumption school will be closed for the remainder of the year.

That’s different from Chuck Leichner’s district plan. He’s the superintendent of the Cassadaga Valley Central School District in Chautauqua County where, notably, it has among the fewest COVID-19 cases in all of western New York.

He said the two week extensions work for his district.

“It breaks it up in nice, little chunks. And, then it keeps folks engaged. If we were to be told now school is done, I’m not sure what engagement would like for the next month or so,” Leichner said.

“When you say you are not opening schools, you may as well say you’re not opening businesses,” Cuomo said during his daily briefing on Wednesday. “The two are connected. I don’t know how you open businesses without opening schools,” he added.

It’s also unclear what the state will do about summer school programs.