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Williamsville school district announces "relaunch" plan

Posted at 12:12 PM, Sep 21, 2020

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Williamsville Central School District announced its relaunch plan on Monday.

In a video posted to the district's YouTube and social media, Acting Superintendent Dr. John McKenna said all students will have daily synchronous and asynchronous learning Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Class schedules will remain the same. Students will be part of the same class whether they are fully remote, or on their hybrid in-person day or their hybrid remote day.

Wednesday's schedule will have a "brief" synchronous period, and asynchronous learning. Teachers will have time for planning and professional learning on Wednesday.

The district said it will announce a timeline for when the plan will go into place later this week.

“We want to make certain the staff is appropriately prepared to maximize quality and success for our students," McKenna said. "We also want to assure our teachers that they will be supported step by step throughout this process.”

7 Eyewitness News spoke with three student leaders who said the plan is a step in the right direction. They will meet with the McKenna Wednesday afternoon and will request to return to their respective buildings by Thanksgiving, but ideally by Halloween. The district's previous target dates for students to return to the buildings are November 16th for grades 5-6, and January 4th for grades 7-12.

Below is Acting Superintendent Dr. John McKenna's full announcement:

The plan was put forward by the district's "Reset, Relaunch, Return" committee. McKenna said the committee is made up of more than 40 people, including teachers and support staff. The group met everyday last week, and with other local school districts, Erie 1 BOCES, and the University at Buffalo.

Student leaders met with McKenna about a week and a half ago, and said that was a turning point.

“He told us that he would start doing consistent updates with the community, and that he would start asking for the students voices because prior to that point, student voices really hadn’t been heard on the issue and obviously it's crucial to hear student voices at this time,” said Ben Terhaar, the Vice President of Williamsville East High School.

The decision comes after several protests from students and parents following the district's decision to go fully remote for grades 5-12. Student leaders from the district's high schools said they believe the protests accelerated the process and conveyed a sense of urgency to the district.