BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Some Buffalo Public School students could return to the classroom in November. Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash laid out a plan to the school board that prioritizes the return of younger students, English Language Learners, and students with special needs.
“Once you pressure test how to actually do it with this first group, six or 7,000 kids, then every week, every couple of weeks, you could bring in another either developmental stage group or another population," he said.
There is no set date for when students would begin to return. Cash did not detail when or how students outside of the mentioned groups would return.
He said three major logistics are new schedules, transportation, and staffing, all depend on how many students would opt to return.
Both the Buffalo Teachers Federation and the Buffalo Parent Teacher Organization support the prioritized return approach. Additionally, the two groups are calling for rapid COVID-19 testing.
"The Buffalo Parent Teacher Organization supports the idea of a phased-in approach to returning that prioritizes special needs students, English Language Learners, and our youngest students. BPTO wants testing to reduce the spread of COVID-19. We’re passionate about sending students back into school safely. We need access to widespread testing in order to do so. We view it as our responsibility to partner and innovate on how to keep BPS safe. We want health insurance companies to offer testing for BPS community members."
Last week, in a letter to Cash and the board, BTF President Philip Rumore outlined protocols the union wants to see, examples include MERV-11 or 13 filters in all ventilation systems and an agreed upon student teacher ratio.
He said only staff who wish to participate in the reopening plan should be required to do so, but that after talking with teachers he believes there's enough who would participate.