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Buffalo Teachers Federation calls Buffalo Public School district on COVID concerns in classroom

“We're also hearing that students are also coming to school even though they tested positive and nothing happens quickly enough.”
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Posted at 6:51 PM, Jan 21, 2022

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Buffalo Teachers Federation calls out the Buffalo Public Schools on COVID concerns in the classroom.

"We're also hearing that students are also coming to school even though they tested positive, and nothing happens quickly enough," Phil Rumore, president of Buffalo Teachers Federation.

Rumore says he gets hundreds of calls from teachers expressing concerns over what they call 'unclear COVID protocols' in the district.

"If one of the students tests positive. The kids around that student who were in close proximity to that student don't have to be quarantined if they had their masks on all day long. Excuse me?," Rumore says. "First of all, they don't, and that doesn't make any sense because when they touch something like why take a chance?"

Rumore continues to ask for more information from the school district to make sure everyone gets tested on site.

"We think that everybody should be able to get tested in the school rather than having this group testing because the quicker you find out, the quicker you can take action," he says. "

Meanwhile, Jessica Bauer Walker, director of community health worker parent association of Buffalo Public Schools, believes working together may be the solution.

"I think we need to work together as much as possible," she says. "We've been working to set up vaccination clinics in partnership with Buffalo Public Schools and Erie County Department of Health. Also supplying things like masks and trying to get more rapid tests out, so it's all short supply right now."

7 News reached out to the school district for a response and no one returned the request for comment.

Yet, Walker says the district has some strategies in place.

Buffalo Public Schools is sounding like they're going to be doing the test-to-stay program," Walker says. "We want to definitely be encouraging families to get their children vaccinated. I think we all need to work on these strategies."

The president of the Buffalo Teachers Federation agrees with the test-to-stay method.

"It makes sense," Rumore says. "I think there should be a test to stay for adults as well as for the students."

The director of the parent association says resources for families and students should be kept in mind.

"We also need to think about food access, and mental health and many other needs families have, and schools are a resource to them in that regard," Walker says.

The federation president expects to hear back from the district sometime next time.

Again, 7 News reached out to the school district for its response, so far, no one returned a call for comment.