BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Buffalo Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash wants schools to stay open.

Dr. Cash was joined by Medical Director Dr. Dennis Kuo and Board President Louis Petrucci during a conference on Wednesday morning.

The leaders spoke about the growing prevalence of the Omicron variant and how the school district is taking precautions.

In a recent letter to students, parents and staff, Dr. Cash encouraged students to take their laptops and iPads home over winter break. This is due to the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic.

In the letter, Dr. Cash said there is “no decision or timetable” set for remote instruction, but he wants the community to be ready in case it happens.

“We must stay open if we can,” he says. “We need to stay open. No question about it. No one wants to go back to remote learning. We don’t.”

MORE | BPS asks students to take tech home in case district goes remote

After the school district’s winter break begins, classroom instruction is scheduled to continue on Monday, January 3. But it’s possible that the school district could make all classes remote, starting that week.

A final decision will come on Tuesday.

If students do come back for in-person instruction, as planned, Dr. Cash says he wants them all, 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,” Dr. Kuo says.

Watch the full conference in the video player below:

The school district, including the Central Office, will be closed on Christmas Eve. But Central Office staff are to report there on December 27-30.

Any families who need help during the winter break can visit the Center for Innovation, Technology and Training (CITT) on December 27-30 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Staff there will assist with student devices and provide hot spots for at-home Internet access.

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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.