"Back To School Day" across several WNY schools

First day of classes at Buffalo Public School 92, BUILD Community School. September 8, 2020 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)
Photo credit First day of classes at Buffalo Public School 92, BUILD Community School. September 8, 2020 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - It's "Back to School Day" for several districts in Western New York.

Some of the districts that welcomed back students for a hybrid model of learning include Lackawanna, Cheektowaga, Lancaster, and Williamsville. Each hybrid model is unique. Lackawanna, for example, will only see 25 percent of their student body return to the classrooms for the remainder of this week. Next week, students will be divided into two groups and be in the classroom for two days at a time.

It’s #BackToSchool Day for many districts across WNY. Lackawanna Schools will begin the year with 25% of students attending each day this week. Buffalo Public will begin in a fully hybrid model for the first several weeks. LIVE coverage at several schools this morning pic.twitter.com/GMHX2WUflC

— WBEN NewsRadio 930AM (@NewsRadio930) September 8, 2020

Cheektowaga Schools began their hybrid model Tuesday with half of the students reporting on Monday and Tuesday and the other half on Thursday and Friday. Wednesdays will be dedicated to cleaning the building for the other group of students. Students in Lancaster will alternate their days in the classroom and at home. The district is not dedicating a single day towards cleaning like other districts.

"It's all hands on deck," Shedrick said. "I would rather our students see our faces fully online than to see us with masks and all they see is our eyes. Also, we're able to show our love via online compared to school because you have to stay six feet apart."

Teachers at School 92 are ready to begin the school year, too. But even then, they acknowledged hurdles they must overcome. For example, Grace Harris, a pre-K teacher at the district, said there are still some students who have not received their devices yet.

Other teachers at the school, such as 8th grade ELA teacher Taloria Givens, plan to use audiobooks to help engage students.

"It's so different but I'm super excited to see my previous and incoming students," she said. "We'll see how it goes but I'm definitely optimistic about it."

Special education teachers are also adjusting to the remote model of learning. Jillian Quigly told WBEN she's modified her office hours to accommodate families in the evening and even gave her personal phone number to families with any questions. Similarly, John Alessandra is optimistic about this year.

"As I'm trying to teach my students, I'm trying to teach them to be comfortable with the uncomfortable," Alessandra said. "Even though this isn't an ideal situation for anyone, I believe this adversity will allow our students to grow past some certain barriers."

Other schools in the area are scheduled to begin their classrooms later this week.

Despite all the drama surrounding Williamsville Schools, it’s back to school day. The hybrid model of learning begins for elementary school kids at Dodge Elementary. pic.twitter.com/T0VnQBbX6V

— WBEN NewsRadio 930AM (@NewsRadio930) September 8, 2020