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School districts in Erie County's orange zone release plans for hybrid learning under new state guidance

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Posted at 12:05 PM, Dec 08, 2020

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — School districts in Erie County's orange zone are releasing their plans to bring students back into classrooms under a hybrid learning model.

Districts are responding to new guidance released by the state last week that allows for hybrid learning at schools in orange and red zones. The previous guidance required schools in those zones to switch to fully remote learning. Under the new guidance, schools can reopen in orange zones after testing 20% of in-person students, faculty and staff. For red zones in the state, the testing rate goes up to 30%. Testing has to be completed over a one-month period after receiving orange or red zone designation, and the state recommends spacing testing evenly throughout the month (10% or 15% every two weeks). If those tests reveal nine more positive cases at any time, the school must switch back to remote learning.

Parts of Erie County became an orange zone on November 18 and can switch to hybrid learning on December 14, provided they meet testing requirements.

On Tuesday morning, some of the large districts in Erie County began releasing their plans to resume hybrid learning on December 14.

Clarence Central School District

  • Polycarbonate dividers will continue to be used to divide students in grades K-8
  • District plans to complete half of the necessary testing this week
  • Families will receive a letter with direction to participate
  • Read more here

Cleveland Hill Union Free School District

  • Details on testing program to be sent to parents Thursday
  • Requesting all parents and students to honor their commitment to either the hybrid or remote model of instruction that they were enrolled in prior to shift to remote on November 23.
  • If you plan on requesting a change from the instructional model that your child was enrolled in prior to the shift, you must communicate that with your child’s Principal no later than Friday, December 18, 2020
  • Read more here

East Aurora Union Free School District

  • Goal is to complete testing of 10% of students, faculty and staff December 9
  • Read more here

Hamburg Central School District

  • Will follow guidance on masking, physical distancing, hand/respiratory hygiene, symptom checking and quarantining
  • Nearly 2,000 families and more than 450 staff members have offered to be tested.
  • Those who will be tested will be notified 24 hours in advance
  • Read more here

Lancaster Central School District

Orchard Park Central School District

Tonawanda City School District

  • Acquired consent for first random selection of population in each building, they will be contacted soon and testing will begin later this week.
  • Should the district remain in an orange zone it will be contacting the next group of randomly selected individuals for testing to take place in January.

Williamsville Central School District

  • Will begin testing December 9, those randomly selected to be tested will be notified through WITS.
  • Students in grades K-8 will be required to have a parent present during testing. If a custodial parent wants to accompany their student in grades 9-12 for testing, they may do so.
  • Read more here

Grand Island Central School District will return on December 17. The Sweet Home School District, Depew Union Free School District and Iroquois Central School District announced plans to open for hybrid learning on January 4. Read more on Sweet Home, Depew here and Iroquois here.

Amherst Central School District previously announced returning on December 14, but have made the decision to delay until January 4 also. More on that decision can be found here.

The Ken-Ton School District also discussed their plans Tuesday evening. Read more here.