K-4 Full-Time In-Person Option

K-4 Full-Time In-Person Option

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Philip Oppenheimer started this petition to Parents & Residents of the WCSD

Petition Title: To develop a K-4 Full-Time In-Person Option for the Williamsville Central School District (WCSD) reopening plan.

Mission: To revisit the current WCSD reopening plan and to make the reopening plan safer and better for the entire district. To ensure that "Working Parents" (hereafter designated as a single working parent, 2 essential working parents, or 2 working parents of any job) are provided the opportunity to avoid undue financial hardship because of the current WCSD reopening plan and to ensure that the children of Working Parents are ensured the same support and guidance during the school day as all children under the WCSD reopening plan.

Dear Dr. Martzloff, Administrators, Principals, Teachers, Parents, and Residents,

My wife and I are essential workers and will not be home during the school day to provide assistance, care, and guidance for my son's kindergarten education beginning this fall. My wife is a social worker, I am a physical therapist at Buffalo General Hospital. We are very concerned and we have significant questions about the proposed WCSD reopening plan for the upcoming school year.
Because we are essential staff and have to be present at work, the current 2-day Hybrid plan requires us to pay for childcare or a similar type of supervision for our son. Many Working Parents are facing a similar predicament. Such a predicament is very costly, and is unfairly asking Working Parents to pay additional money during the school day that not every parent will have to pay. Furthermore, this will expose children to different settings/cohorts and thus possible different infection risks, especially as private daycares may not require children to wear masks or maintain social distancing. Lastly, this predicament does not guarantee that my son's educational needs will be appropriately met.
My wife and I chose to live in Williamsville in order to provide our children with the best education available within WNY. We have seen many of our tax dollars each year go to the school system. In speaking with our neighbors whose children went through the remote option offered last year by a variety of school districts, all of them were greatly disappointed with the caliber of teaching provided. This is greatly concerning to us.
With WNY’s positive infection rate hovering around 1%, my wife and I are asking for a full-time in-person option offered to families that want it and especially to the families of Working Parents. In-person instruction should be prioritized. A handful of other WNY school districts were able to provide this option, so WCSD should be no different. We are sure that there are many ways to go about providing this, but we do believe K-4 Full-Time In-Person education is an essential service.

The reasons below illustrate where we think the WCSD reopening plan in regards to K-4 Full-time In-Person education could be better.

Per Governor Andrew Cuomo's "Interim Guidance for In-Person Instruction at Pre-K to Grade 12 Schools During the Covid-19 Public Health Emergency,”, certain criteria within the existing WCSD reopening plan have not been effectively met.
1) In-Person Instruction: To ensure equity in education, Responsible Parties should prioritize efforts to return all students to in-person instruction at this time.
The WCSD reopening plan did not provide to the district a model that highlighted in-person prioritization. Only three committee meetings were held mid- to late July to address all the issues pertaining to reopening. Only two very brief descriptions of such meetings were provided to district residents on 7/17 and 7/24. No full-time in-person re-opening model was provided at all to the district residents, and no explanation as to why was provided. The current hybrid plan of 2 days per week in our opinion simply falls short of meeting prioritization criteria. In putting Working Parents in a position to pursue daycare or alternative supervised places for K-4 school-age students during the school day, such education in our opinion is not being prioritized.
2) Spaces: To reduce social density, Responsible Parties should consider and assess additional and/or alternate indoor space(s) that may be repurposed for instruction or other required purposes in support of in-person instruction within the school facility, school grounds, municipal facilities, municipal grounds, or community (e.g., community centers), as well as outdoor space(s) where health and safety conditions (e.g., allergies, asthma) allow for such potential usage.
The WCSD reopening plan did not provide discussion into the investigation of additional or alternate spaces to prioritize in-person learning. The absence of such additional or alternate spaces within the current WCSD reopening plan is now forcing Working Parents to access such spaces on their own at their own cost.
3) Cohorts: Responsible Parties should “cohort” students, to the extent practicable, to limit potential exposure to the COVID-19 virus. Cohorts, particularly for younger students, are self-contained, pre- assigned groups of students with reasonable group size limits set forth by the Responsible Parties in their plans. Responsible Parties should enact measures to prevent intermingling between cohorts, to the extent possible (e.g., separation by appropriate social distancing, particularly if there are multiple cohorts in one area). Responsible Parties should make reasonable efforts to ensure that cohorts are fixed – meaning contain the same students – for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
The WCSD reopening plan is putting Working Parents in a position based on necessity to place their school-age kids in private daycares outside of school with different sets of kids and different rules concerning masks and social distancing, and then reintroducing those kids on the 2 days of in-person instruction at school. Such necessity will be impacting cohort safety.

Furthermore, Sweet Home, Orchard Park, Clarence, and Starpoint have provided options for enacting variances of full-time in-person elementary school education.
Why can't WCSD figure something similarly out?

Solution: We propose 2 alternatives to achieve a K-4 Full-Time In-Person option.
1) Re-survey the WCSD and ask families to choose between either full-time in-person OR full-time remote. 48% of WCSD survey respondents believe school should return to normal. At 48%, class size would appropriately be cut in half and likely at that percentage meet social distancing requirements. The question lies in how many within the 36% hybrid interest would choose in-person or remote if presented with only those two options. Perhaps many within that 36% would choose full-time remote and thus create the opportunity for appropriate class sizes in a full-time in-person model. Working Parents would thus have the opportunity to avoid daycare, and parents of any working situation with such interest would be able to access full-time in-person education.

2) Include Working Parents within the Group D category of the current WCSD Hybrid plan. Automatically offer the option of full-time in-person to a single working parent and to 2 essential working parents, requiring a recent pay stub to prove essential status. Until class size is appropriately filled to meet not only social distancing needs but the worthwhileness of having full-time in-person education, then offer the option to 2 working parents of any type of job. From there, offer the option to families with school-age children plus a non-school-age child with disability that requires one parent's attention while the other parent works. If there is still class room space, offer the option to the rest of interested K-4 parents on a lottery basis.

Such is the nature of our petition.
Please sign this petition if you share our voice.

Thank you so much for your time.
May we strive to find the very best reopening plan.
Sincerely,
Philip and Jessica Oppenheimer

0 have signed. Let’s get to 500!
At 500 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!