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Parents and students protest change to Williamsville reopening plan for second day in a row

Posted at 11:10 PM, Sep 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-11 23:10:18-04

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WKBW) — Dozens of parents and students gathered outside the Williamsville Central School District Offices Friday afternoon to protest the district's reopening plan. The protest comes following Thursday's announcement that students in grades 5-12 will move to a fully remote model.

Steve Siffringer is the parent of two high school students in the district, and said they initially chose the hybrid model.

“We feel like it’s safe for our kids to go to school two days a week, and we want them in it," he said. "We want them to have the social aspects, we want them to have the in-person education.”

The group chanted "come out and talk to us," knocked on the doors of the district's central offices, and taped posters to the entrance.

A large group of parents and students protested the change on Thursday evening too.

The switch to fully remote learning comes after weeks of changes. Most recently, the district delayed remote learning for grades 5-12. Acting Superintendent Dr. John McKenna said the previous plan put some students at a disadvantage. Additionally, he said the new model allows for a fuller selection of AP courses and electives.

“We wanted to make sure the children got high quality instruction, five days a week," he said.

McKenna said the district did not have the proper staffing for the previous model, but does for the fully remote version. He did not say if the district needs to hire more teachers going forward.

“We’re already working with the principals to look at alternatives, to look at schedules, and to find out can we do this, do we need more staff, or can we do it with existing staff," he said.

The district plans to bring back 5th-6th graders by November 16th, and 7th-12th graders by January 4th.