BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — After the start of the new year, Buffalo students will be back in the classroom.

Buffalo Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash and Board of Education President Louis Petrucci shared a letter with the school community on Wednesday afternoon.

In it, the school leaders said in-person instruction will continue five days per week, once students return from winter break on January 3.

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Whether or not this would happen was up in the air, as the school district debated the possibility of returning to remote learning — something Dr. Cash wanted to avoid.

“We must stay open if we can,” he said during a conference last week. “We need to stay open. No question about it. No one wants to go back to remote learning. We don’t.”

A final decision was expected on Tuesday, but it was delayed when the district needed more time to review Gov. Kathy Hochul’s “Winter Surge 2.0 Strategy.”

MORE | Buffalo schools delay decision on return to in-person classes

Dr. Cash previously said he wants all students, as well as staff, to be tested for COVID-19 before they return.

“Even though we know that the schools are safe and we have every indication that protocols are working and they will continue to work, the very, very fast spread that we will see with Omicron that we anticipate will happen in January is something we have to keep a very, very close eye on,” Buffalo Public Schools Medical Director Dr. Dennis Kuo said last week.

In Dr. Cash and Petrucci’s letter, they encouraged students to come to school if they feel well, but stay home if they don’t. In addition to that, they once again encouraged students to keep bringing their computer devices to and from school each day, just in case remote learning happens again.

MORE | Read the letter here.

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Evan Anstey is an Associated Press Award and Emmy-nominated digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.