A group of parents is suing the Grand Island School District to return to five days of in-person learning

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GRAND ISLAND, N.Y. (WIVB) – Parents in the Grand Island School District are suing to get their kids back in the classroom.

The lawsuit names the governor, the Grand Island Central School District, the school board, the superintendent, the state and county health departments, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, and the Grand Island Teachers Association.

The group has formed a non-profit organization called Coalition of Grand Island Parents to Put Students First. They’re suing to force the district to offer five days of in-person learning a week.

According to a press release from HoganWillig, the firm representing the parents, the lawsuit argues “that the school’s continued decision to singularly offer a “hybrid” learning model for
those students and families who wish to attend in-person is harmful to students, contributes to stress and severe mental health issues, and poses a significant threat to a child’s normal growth and
development. The harm, parents say, is compounding every single day that students are prohibited from returning to their normal school schedule.

Grand Island Superintendent Dr. Brian Graham said in a statement Monday that the district will be prepared to return to frull in-person instruction when “future modifications to mandatory guidance permit us to do so”.

Here is Graham’s full statement:

The District has been committed to returning to full in-person instruction as soon as we can responsibly, safely and legally do so.  Governor Cuomo, through his legal authority to issue disaster emergency executive orders, established compliance with certain pandemic-related guidance as a specific condition necessary in order for a school district to be open for instruction for the current school year.  State Education Department approval of the District’s reopening plan was likewise conditioned on compliance with the mandatory elements of the SED guidance document.  The District accordingly is legally required to comply with such guidance and directives, including with respect to social distancing standards, use of masks, and the wide variety of other measures and requirements.  The failure of the District to meet its legal obligations and comply with mandatory guidance could result in serious enforcement actions, liability and other adverse consequences. The District will be prepared for the return to full in-person instruction when future modifications to mandatory guidance permit us to do so.  Meantime, I am tremendously proud of the combined efforts of our students, faculty and staff in the operation of our educational program over the past year in the face of the unprecedented challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic.

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