WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB)–In a district of almost 10,000 students, nearly 500 Williamsville students and parents were protesting on what was the first morning of all – virtual learning for students in grades 5 and up, even for the students who were at school last week.

“Right now, we would be tuning into our live-streams on Zoom and Google Meet, but I’ve been to my first two periods and basically they’re just reiterating the school procedures and stuff because they have to continue teaching the remote study who were on line so now we have to go back to square one and learn all the introductions and school procedures so it’s kind of like we started the work over again like the past week didn’t even exist,” said Anna Conway, a Williamsville South Senior.

The district put out a statement insisting that this current plan is only temporary and they’ve formed committees to come up with a better plan.

“ I will be communicating with you on a regular basis and updating you on our progress. Every child deserves a free appropriate and public education of 180 days. It’s the law and we were out of compliance,” said Dr. John McKenna, Acting Superintendent of Williamsville Schools.

“It doesn’t seem like we’re taking any steps forward, we just fired 40 teachers on a lark. To me that doesn’t signal that we’re ready to move back to a hybrid model that signals that we’re abandoning the hybrid model,” said Jonathan Rich a Williamsville parent.

These student leaders are not just protesting. They’ve drawn up their own proposal for exactly how a return to an optional hybrid or remote learning program could work.

“We’re just disappointed that it wasn’t the fault of the pandemic. It’s just our own fault and poor planning and just promising these remote kids things that we couldn’t promise,” said Diana Stone, a Williamsville East Senior.

George Richert is an award-winning reporter who first joined the News 4 team in 1998, later returning in 2018. See more of his work here.