BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) "Things are moving forward," said Buffalo School Board member Larry Scott when asked about the reopening of schools on WBEN Thursday morning. Buffalo schools have been operating remotely since the start of the school year.
"As far as the process, each building has been given parameters on how to begin planning for the return of students." Scott said the focus now is on how to bring back the most neediest students.
Each school building has been tasked with determining who those students might be.
Scott notes that Buffalo is not following the model that other districts have undertaken to bring students back. "Instead of a hybrid model, we want to bring back the neediest students, full time, five days a week. It would be a small group, about 100 students per building," said Scott.
"What I'm hearing mostly, is that those with the most severe disabilities would be first." Then he said they would look at pre-K, Kindergarten and first grade. English language learners, and 12th graders who are short on credits for graduation may also be on the list to bring back in the first wave.
Scott estimates that 23% or 24% of the student population consists of children with disabilities. English language learners make up a significant amount of the population, approximately 10% to 15%.
There are three main criteria for the return of students. Safety, Health and Quality of Instruction. Scott says staff are making sure that buildings are safe, and that there is signage for social distancing and hand sanitizer in every classroom.
Anyone entering a school building is asked to fill out a questionnaire to ensure that they are not experiencing symptoms of Covid.
An actual date for the reopening has not been set. The next step in the process is for each building's plan on bringing students back to be approved by Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash. A final plan is expected to be presented to the Buffalo School Board during a work session on November 4th.