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Williamsville Schools final reopening plan expected by Tuesday

WBFO/Michael Mroziak

Williamsville School Superintendent Dr. Scott Martzloff suggested Monday morning that the school district's final plan for reopening might be released either later in the day or by Tuesday. It's a plan that has already undergone two modifications and raised concerns by a parents group.

Dr. Martzloff says while they continued to tweak their plans, they want parents to understand they're not trying to hide information but are working to craft a safe and effective model.

"All along, for us, this is never about being the first in Western New York to have a plan. But, rather, it's always been about trying to come up with the best plan possible for our students, of course, and for our teachers and staff," he said. "And sometimes people lose sight of the fact that the health and safety of everyone is our most important priority."

The original plan called for a choice between all-remote learning and a hybrid model, combining online and in-class study. Those choosing the latter were to have students in class two days a week, one day of online study and two days of working on assignments from home. That plan was later modified to eliminate the "assignment days" and replace them with more remote learning.

The hybrid plan was revised again late last week for students in kindergarten through fourth grade, switching out planned online learning via live streaming of classrooms for printed and digital materials.

Parents have until this Wednesday to decide whether to enroll their children in full remote learning.

While a final plan is anticipated this week, Dr. Martzloff raised the concern that having too many teachers opt out of working in the classroom over personal or family health concerns could jeopardize any hybrid model they roll out.

"That could make it very difficult to have enough people. If that were the case, then at the last minute, we might need to consider online instruction for everyone," he said. "But right now, we're trying to come up with a model that allows students to come back to school at least a couple of days a week, in a hybrid model, and attend class."

The superintendent stated the district is in communication with the teachers' union. Both sides met a week and a half ago and were scheduled to meet later in the day, Martzloff told reporters.

To parents awaiting a plan "set in stone," he stated that the district would provide as a much of a finalized plan as they can at this time.

"But they have to understand that the only change that could happen from that is if we don't have enough teachers in our classroom on the first day of school," Martzloff added. "There's one other reason, it would be if there was a huge uptick in infection rate across Western New York, that would drive not coming back to school. But other than those two factors, the plan should go forward that we put out later today or tomorrow to our parents."

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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