County executive weighs in on school reopening decision

Education

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB) — Middle and high school students in the Williamsville and Orchard Park school districts will soon be back in the classroom five days a week. A judge ruled in favor of parents last night, who pushed for more in-person instruction.

As long as infection rates stay below a certain level, then both districts have to let students back in five days a week.

That number is 100 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents in the county for a week straight.

Health officials say cases have been falling steadily since March and April. If it continues to decrease, schools can bring middle and high school students back in the classroom more often.

That’s what parents in both the Williamsville and Orchard Park school districts were pushing for in their lawsuit against the schools. Friday the judge in the case ruled in the parents’ favor.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz says despite Friday’s ruling, he could see this decision being overturned.

“Pretty much every decision that was ruled against the government at the local court level was appealed and overturned on appeal. So I think it’s very important to say this is not the end of it. There’s going to be an appeal and we’ll see what happens,” said Poloncarz.

County health officials say there have been cases of in-classroom COVID-19 transmission when students have been less than three feet apart.

Sarah Minkewicz is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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