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What will schools look like post-pandemic?

“We need to devise multiple ways to reopen"
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Posted at 5:20 PM, May 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-04 18:13:28-04

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — School districts are now looking at how to reshape learning even if schools are allowed reopen next fall.

Students still have several weeks left of learning at home for the rest of this school year, but educators expect remote learning will continue as part of the new normal.

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Da’Zhanna, Newsome, senior, Hutch Tech High School.

“And I miss how the teachers actually talk to us and how they actually communicate and explain what assignments we need to do,” remarked Da’Zhanna, Newsome, senior, Hutch Tech High School.

Newsome is one of the more the 30,000 Buffalo Public School students trying to navigate classes online.

But superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash is already warning families he expects some form of distance learning to continue post-pandemic.

Dr. Cash said even if schools are allowed to reopen in September, a number of things will need to change.

“We’re going to have to make sure we test everybody. We're going to have to take temperatures of all staff coming in the morning, all students coming in the morning,” Cash stated.

“I think we all realize that the way things use to be will never be like that again,” said Joe Cantafio, teacher, West Seneca West High School, president, West Seneca Teachers Association.

He said there is a lot of ideas surfacing from reducing class size to reducing the number of days students attend. But it all needs to be negotiated.

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Joe Cantafio, teacher, West Seneca West High School, president, West Seneca Teachers Association.

“I’m sure there will be rotation of classes. I’m sure there will be ideas of split sessions and the school year — all those things. We teachers are going to be part of that solution,” Cantafio explained.

“We need to devise multiple ways to reopen,” stated Mark Laurrie, superintendent, Niagara Falls City School District.

Laurrie said the district has formed a committee to consider next steps. It includes teachers, administrators, parents, students and the Niagara County health director. They will meet this Friday.

“What we need to do is have plan a, b and c — varying levels of social distancing and interaction,” said Laurrie.

Laurrie and Cantafio also agree that distance learning will have to remain.

Districts are all trying to figure out how it would be safe bring students back into their buildings, but they say it will be all based on science and the health of our communities.

“I think we all realize that this is a health and safety crisis,” Cantafio remarked. “We want to be back in the classroom. We all want to be with our students.”