BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)– Thousands of students in the buffalo public school district will be back inside the classroom tomorrow for the first time in nearly a year.

One parent, we talked with says it’s about time students within this district were allowed back inside the buildings.

That this gives students access to a learning model that works for them.

“Some kids have done better with remote instruction, some kids would do better with in-person instruction, some kids would do better with a little bit of guidance to the hybrid instruction.”

Samual Radford III, Parent

Samual Radford the third says parents have waited long enough for their kids to learn in-person again.

“We have been saying all along that Buffalo parents should have the right to have a choice on whether their kids go to school or not just like everybody else. We’re the last ones in Western New York to be sending our kids to school,” said Radford.

On February 1 thousands of students in the Buffalo Public School District will be back in the classroom.
This includes pre-k through second, high school seniors, and students with special needs.

“I’m excited. I think we’re in a place where our students need to start returning, especially our youngest students and our neediest students. It’s time for them to be getting some in-person learning.”

Larry Scott, Member, BPS School Board

School officials say the district spent months cleaning and sanitizing the buildings, updating equipment and buying masks.

Earlier this week the buffalo teachers federation said that’s still not enough.

“We believe that they are not safe for our kids to be in, for the adults to be in and that the district has a lot more to do so that they can get the buildings in shape.”

Phil Rumore, President, Buffalo Teachers Federation

The union filed a lawsuit Friday in the state supreme court to try and delay the start, but for now, the school is still set to reopen.

School board member Larry Scott wouldn’t comment specifically on the lawsuit but says he understands why some staff members may be unsure about returning but believes the process will go smoothly.

“We are still in a global pandemic so those concerns are real and they’re warranted.”

“I think it’s going to take some time to feel more comfortable as staff re-enter our buildings but I do know of many teachers, my son’s teachers, I know that many of them are excited, many of them of been preparing their rooms.”

Larry Scott, Member, BPS School Board

The Buffalo Parent-Teacher Organization tells me they are pushing the district to have every staff member who works in the school, not just teachers, get their COVID-19 vaccine.

Sarah Minkewicz is an Emmy-nominated reporter and Buffalo native who has been a part of the News 4 team since 2019. Follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahMinkewicz and click here to see more of her work.