WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WKBW) — Williamsville Central School District is moving all instruction to a remote model for grades 5 through 12, in its latest effort to stabilize a rocky start to the school year.
The temporary remote model will begin on Tuesday, September 15, according to school officials. Grades 5 and 6 are expected to return to school on November 16. Grades 7 to 12 are expected to return on January 4, 2021.
The new model will allow for 180 days of instruction.
There will be no change students in grades kindergarten to 4, and in district self-contained classes.
Acting Superintendent Dr. John McKenna said the new model will allow students to receive an equal level of education. He said the model also allows students more electives and AP options.
"We wanted to make sure that children got high quality instruction, five days a week, and they will," he said. "This time also they're following their bell schedule, so even though it's remote they're actually going to be following their actual bell schedule and going to school, but really they're just doing it remotely."
Remote learning was delayed following the district's announcement of 201 staff members resigning, or taking a leave of absence due to COVID-19. McKenna said the district is exploring several options when it comes to staff.
"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. "We're looking at all those models right now. We're also looking to work and collaborate with outside agencies and our local universities to help us as well."
The district says students in middle and high school who chose the remote model can view their new schedule on Friday via their WITS account. McKenna said there are enough computers and tablets for any student who needs one; parents should request them through the district.
Teachers will go into the building 5 days a week. The president of the Williamsville Teacher's Association said they support the new plan.
A large group of parents and students gathered outside the district offices Thursday night, protesting the switch to a full remote model, chanting "bring back school."
Authorities in the Williamsville Central School District have been under intense scrutiny in recent weeks.
Last Friday, then-Superintendent Dr. Scott Martzloff announced that remote learning would be delayed for students in grades five through 12. That announcement caught members of the Board of Education by surprise.
By Monday, the Board of Education voted unanimously to place Dr. Martzloff on administrative leave. They named Dr. John McKenna the acting superintendent, who has since been peppered with questions from parents and students earlier this week about what the next steps will be.
Parents with questions or concerns can contact the district at UnifiedSolution@williamsvillek12.org.