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Buffalo Public Schools students are back in the classroom

United Nations

Thousands of Buffalo Public Schools students return to their buildings Monday morning, after months of studying in front of a computer screen. For some, there are many sides to the issue of in-person education.At-large School Board Member Larry Scott is a parent activist with two sons in Buffalo schools and a job as a psychologist in Ken-Ton schools. Scott said based on what he has seen in Ken-Ton schools, putting kids back at their classroom desks is the way to go, as long as all of the safety precautions are taken and the COVID transmission rate stays low.

"I think, the value of having those students in the building cannot be replicated in a remote model," Scott said.

Credit Buffalo Public Schools

Samuel Radford is a long-time education activist and currently co-chair of We The Parents. Radford has seen children go through Buffalo schools and now grandchildren. He agreed that city students could have been back in classes last year.

Radford said the Albany plan to do away with student testing again this year is another serious mistake, because Buffalo schools have to know which students need more help.

"Right now, you have private schools who are going to school every day. You have Catholic schools who are going to school every day on hybrid. You have all the suburban schools who are going hybrid. So the only kids that are fully remote are the kids in the urban school districts, the large urban school districts. There, we’re going to compound the problems by not even testing them," Radford said.

Radford said the last time students were tested was 2019. He said now more than a year later, it is unlikely students having trouble got better.

An online meeting explaining the districtwide reopening plan was held Jan. 27. You can watch it here.

Scott also provided a link to a 12-page review conducted last week by the superintendent, medical director and board members on the readiness of schools.

Credit Buffalo Public Schools
Buffalo Public Schools Superintendent Kriner Cash (l) talking with Nurse Wendy Walker (r) about the health records of students.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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