Williamsville Central School District

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A Letter Requesting Updated Guidance and Information for Schools

In response to the Governor's comments regarding opening schools during his press conference on Friday, February 19, 2021, the District sent the following letter to the New York State Department of Health, New York State Education Department, Erie County Department of Health and Erie County.

February 19, 2021

Dear (elected offical),

Earlier today during his press conference, Governor Cuomo implored schools to open “in-class teaching as soon as possible.”

In addition to this, he said, “Schools must open…So, open the schools.  And, the local governments should be aggressive on in-class teaching.  Unless there is a community or school that has an infection spike, that is different – that is different.  But, if the school doesn’t have an infection spike, and if the school is safer than the surrounding community, then why isn’t the school open five days a week? Well, the teachers have concerns.  Legitimate! Get the teachers a vaccination. Vaccinate teachers, re-open schools.”

We understand his statements might have come as a surprise to you, as they did to us.  Given his statements today, what guidance is going to be provided to school districts allowing them to re-open not only fully, but safely with all students, for in-person instruction five days a week? When will this guidance be available? Further, based on the Governor’s comments, are vaccinations going to be mandatory for teachers in order to fully open, with all students attending five days of in-person instruction per week?

Current guidance from the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), New York State Education Department (NYSED), Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) and now from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), continue to state that social distancing of six feet, along with other COVID-19 mitigation techniques, are required to be in compliance with health and safety protocols.

We are looking forward to safely opening our schools to all of our students as soon as possible. Please advise on these important matters so we can provide the most up-to-date, appropriate information to our stakeholders, and make the necessary plans for all of our students to return.

Thank you for your consideration regarding these important school matters.

Sincerely,

Dr. John E. McKenna
Acting Superintendent of Schools
Williamsville Central School District