Buffalo Public Schools are about a month away from opening for the new year and even that's not definite. Schools Superintendent Kriner Cash told an online public meeting Monday night there are a lot of "ifs" and "buts" in the future.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has a requirement for every school district to have 3-5 public meetings to discuss the plan for reopening, and post their plans for remote learning, testing and tracing on their website by Aug. 21 to be in compliance with state standards.
On Monday, he also published a list of 107 districts that had not yet submitted a reopening plan. Locally, those districts on the list are Franklinville, Lewiston Porter, Mayfield, Pine Valley, Portville, Salamanca, Sloan, West Valley, Williamsville and Wyoming.
"For those 107 school districts, how they didn't submit a plan is beyond me," Cuomo said. "If they don't submit a plan by this Friday, they can't open."
Buffalo has three possible paths for each of its 33,000 students: completely online, completely in school or a hybrid of some days at home and others in school. Cash said the district hopes to know late this month how many have chosen each.
"We think that's when we get the information that's out now by Aug. 21 of who decides which model they would like to choose, because at some point a week or two before school, I'm thinking more like two weeks before school, after we review the data that comes in on these three basic approaches," Cash said.
Chief of Staff Darren Brown-Hall said the district wants every family to stick with the choice for this semester, once it's made.
"We do want to ask parents to commit for the first semester, because in our school buildings, when a parent commits to remote learning, we have to look at the class size because we have to social distance. We have to social distance on busing also," Brown-Hall said. "So if a parent commits to one way or the other, we ask that they keep that commitment for the entire semester."
Monday's Facebook Q&A covered a lot of ground. Another will be held Wednesday in various languages.
Lead Associate Superintendent for School Leadership: Elementary Casandra Wright has been fielding some of those questions from students.
"What will their educational life look like going back to school? What will the cleaning staff look like? What will the recommendations for wearing a mask or not wearing a mask look like? What will online education look like? Who's going to be held accountable to ensure that they get the best education possible?" she said.