ANGOLA, NY (WKWB) — The Lake Shore Central School District is preparing to bring students safely back to classrooms next month.
Like many district’s, Lake Shore will offer a combination of in-school and in-home learning.
But two Lake Shore mothers with special needs children say they're feeling left out of the reopen plan.
“Because he has speech issues, vision issues, PT issues, OT issues — so he's labeled multi-disabled,” explained Dana Corieri, mother.
“So Mason has sensory processing disorder and ADHD,” said Tess Brownell, mother.
Brownell and Corieri are sisters who live next door to one another in Angola.
The sisters described how all four of their children, ranging in ages four to 16, have learning disabilities and special needs, with a variety of issues.
Children from both families have individualized education programs, known as IEP’s with the lake shore schools.
Brownell says her son will be able to attend four days a week in the classroom.
Her 16-year-old daughter had home school instructors before, but she says the district no longer offers the service.
She says her daughter's anxiety prevents her from attending school.
“She can’t with her anxiety. It was a nightmare before. She went from failing every single grade to merit role on home instruction,” Brownell recalls.
Corieri says she can't send her children back to the classroom. She says she needs a home tutor.
“Number one, everybody in the household is immune compromised and number two — there is now way that they will be able to wear a mask for six hours a day,” Corieri said.
Both moms say the need the district's help.
“We are mandated to follow the IEP’s as they are written,” remarked Charles Galluzzo, superintendent.
Lake Shore superintendent Galluzzo says the reopen plan calls for certain special education students with IEP’s to return four days a week — Tuesday through Friday.
“But if the parent doesn't want the child in the building we have to try to come up with some kind of a plan that we can accommodate the child — the best we can,” responded Galluzzo.
Corieri said she’s not sure what do for her daughter's learning.
“At this point, my daughter’s not going to be able to do much without the tutor, and as far as my son goes — I have no idea what they are planning for him,” Corieri.
Both Corieri and Brownell said their sons have regressed without their usual therapies from the schools.
“I’m at a loss right now — completely,” declared Brownell.
Meanwhile, the district is set for students who plan to return to school two days a week.
The 2,100 students would be split into two groups; Green Group attending Tuesday and Wednesday, White Group attends Thursday and Friday.
Monday's will be set aside for all remote learning for all students.
“That will be a day when the teachers are getting things prepared, materials to give to students when they’re in school,” Galluzzo described.
Students will be wearing face masks, but in classrooms, when students are at a social distance, they would be allowed to remove them.
“We’ll be able to let them pull it down by their chin, but if the teacher is walking around — the teacher can't maintain that social distance, the teacher will simply asked the students to put their masks up,” Galluzzo said.
Galluzzo said teachers will be adding face shields to offer another layer of protection.
District buses will be fully sanitized for students. Lunch times will be staggered for students and plexiglass shields will be in place for their meals.
One of the challenges for families the rural district, along the lake, is internet connectivity and the need for hot spots and devices.
“We do have a percentage of students who live on the Seneca Nation Territory and internet is spotty there and even in our own community in Lake Shore, down by the beaches and in different areas, the WiFi is not as strong,” Galluzzo remarked.
Students will conducting virtual learning, but the superintendent said parents like paper packets for remote learning days.
“We did our early survey and parents really liked having the paper because their technology was spotty themselves,” said Galluzzo.
Parents are encouraged to temperature checks at home, but the school will also be taking students temperatures at arrival.
“If a child registers a temperature above 100 — we'll just simply ask them to step aside,” Galluzzo replied.
7 Eyewitness News asked the superintendent what has been most challenging.
He said it is all the unknown from the state and department of health.
“It’s such a fast moving target that we’re all trying to do our best to keep up with that,” responded Galluzzo.
The superintendent says 8.2 percent of the families have selected full remote learning.
“That shows that people are really comfortable with what we're doing,” Galluzzo noted.