Parents and teachers within the Williamsville School District continue to seek answers on reopening plan

Williamsville

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB) — Parents and teachers in the Williamsville Central School District say many of their questions are going unanswered, and they’re worried time is running out.

“Like all teachers, I can’t wait to get back into the classroom. I have spent much of my summer preparing for re-entry but I believe this should happen only when safe,” said Amy Kantz, who teaches at Williamsville East High School. “Due to the utter lack of planning and making any positive change to address our health and safety from ventilation to PPE. I do not feel safe at East High School and I know I am not the only one.”

Krantz was one of several teachers and parents who brought their frustrations and concerns right to school board members during a zoom meeting Friday night.

“We are being asked to make a decision on what our child’s education is going to look like this school year when we don’t know what our options truly are,” said parent Bryan Weinstein.

Parents and teachers want to know how mask breaks will work, what sanitation will look like, and will their be enough PPE equipment. They also aren’t sure how a hybrid model of learning will work with live streaming as a component.

JILL DOLAN, TEACHER “I love my job, I try so hard to reach and connect with every student but this new live streaming model will water down both the interactions I have with my in-person class and my virtual students,” said teacher Jill Dolan. “I’ll be interacting with those students in front of me while also monitoring the computer screen to see who has a question, is everyone still logged on, are they paying attention?”

Several concerned parents have been reaching out to News 4 us to say they want there to be a solid plan in place for when school begins in a few weeks, but that they’re not seeing that happen.
As part of the school district’s plan, face coverings will be required at all times while on school grounds, including on the school bus and classrooms, which will be spaced out for social distancing.

Students can choose a hybrid or completely virtual learning plan, and the district is giving families until Wednesday to decide if they want to opt into completely virtual learning.

“We’re trying to come up with the best plan that meets people needs to the best degree possible for all students at all levels,” said school superintendent Scott Martzloff. “It has been a very challenging process.”

Parents argue that the district has not communicated enough about any of the learning models in a way that makes them confident when they make that decision Wednesday.

“So when I sign up for whatever plan we’re gonna go with, we actually have enough facts and details and maybe even see a distanced learning demonstration that I say yes that’s something I want to sign up for my kid,” said parent Jason Sinsabaugh. “We should’ve had that in July.”

News 4 spoke with one teacher within the Williamsville School District off camera, she did not want to be named but she says she’s worried about sending her daughter back to high school. She says she’s concerned her daughter who goes to the district, will get sick or that she will get sick.

Martzloff addressed the reopening plan on Monday morning. Watch his conference below:

Sarah Minkewicz is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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