Buffalo Public Schools superintendent addresses rising COVID numbers


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — COVID-19 cases are on the rise in Western New York and that’s causing concern in the Buffalo Public Schools.

There have been more than 400 positive cases in the school district in the past two weeks.

Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash spoke about this spike at Wednesday night’s school board meeting and the possibility of having to close schools.

“You’ve seen some of the data from upstate New York and we’re approaching two percent, three percent infection in some of our schools now and when we get to that level, I’ll have to make a decision to close the school. And then we close the school and it could be bigger than that,” Dr. Cash said.

Dr. Cash also said he’s trying to keep the schools open five days a week.

He added that it’s important for kids to stay in school.

On Thursday, the Buffalo Teachers Federation sent a memo to Buffalo Public School officials and the Erie County Department of Health reporting what they’re calling a “dangerous increase of COVID cases in Buffalo Public Schools.”

BTF members say their message shows that in schools:

  • From September 3, 2021, to November 15, 2021, reports show there have been 560 students and 191 adults identified with COVID
  • From November 8 to 15, 2021, reports show there were 120 students and 45 adults identified with COVID
  • The November 16 report shows that 47 students and eight adults had COVID

The BTF tells News 4 they’re calling for stronger enforcement of protocols by administrators, greater availability of testing and vaccinations, and more preventative actions, among other things.

Further, the Buffalo Teachers Federation says it is raising concerns that the Thanksgiving and winter recesses increase the chances of the spread of COVID.

President Phil Rumore released a statement Thursday saying:

“While the Superintendent and Board have worked to protect our students, staff and community, we can’t do it alone. This dangerous increase in COVID in our schools and community has its greatest impact on our students and their education. It also adversely impacts the parents/guardians who, when schools are closed and students are taught virtually, have to miss work, work with multiple children or cope with other hardships. Teachers want to be with their students; however, they want them, their families, the staff and community to be and remain safe. We therefore ask our community to get vaccinated and/or tested in our students’ interest and that of our community. They need you. We all need you.”

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