Memo To:   All Buffalo Teachers

From:         Philip Rumore, President, BTF

Date:          November 10, 2020


Subject:     School Reopening Plans

More Information on Yellow Zones
Here is the New York State Department of Health Information referred to on yesterday’s email. (Click Here)


Note: “Schools open to in-person instruction in yellow zones are required to test 20% of in-person students, teachers and staff at least once a week starting Friday, October 16, 2020 for as long as the school remains in a designated yellow zone.” (emphasis added) We are checking to see if this has changed or applies to Buffalo. We are probably one of the few Districts fully remote with teachers in schools/sites.


We are also checking with NYSUT to see if the “25 people maximum indoors and outdoors for “non-essential gatherings” referred to in yesterday’s email applies to schools; thereby, limiting the number of teachers in a school/site (Click Here). NYSUT doesn’t believe it applies to schools.


The yellow designation will obviously impact the District’s reopening plans.


We will keep you advised as information is received. Stay tuned.


School Reopening Plans
We continue to receive concerns from teachers relating to the reopening plans submitted by the principal for their school.


Please remember that our position is that the “plan” must be approved by the site-based team.


As per the site-based document approved by the Board:


Mandated Members:

  • One (1) Administrator (Principal or Assistant Principal)
  • Five (5) Teachers (One the Delegate Chairperson or Building Committee Member)
  • Five (5) Teacher Alternates
  • Five (5) Parents
    • Parent members of SBMT’s will be chosen by the parent organization at each school. At least five parents will be chosen, one of whom will be a District Parent Coordinating Council (DPCC) representative. One will be the president of the Parent Organization, who may choose a proxy at will. One will be the Parent Facilitator at the school. There will be an alternate for each of these members in the event of unavailability.
      • Definition of “Parent”
        • Be a parent/guardian, legal guardian or person acting “in loco parentis” (as per CR 100.1) regarding all aspects of a child’s education
        • Must have a child or children enrolled currently at the school, and be a non-employee


Recommended Members:

  • One (1) Teacher Aide
  • Three (3) Students (Grade 5 and Above)
  • School Staff and Community Members as Invited by “Consensus”


How Decision Are Made:


“SBMTs will make all decisions based on consensus.


Simply defined, consensus means that all members “can live with” the decision. Consensus ensures that all parties have involvement in the decision. Consensus is not synonymous with unanimous agreement. When decisions are reached by a consensus it is not necessary that all members completely agree. It is only necessary that they minimally agree. Before consensus can be reached, each member of the SBMT has the right and the obligation to express any disagreement, and to propose a compromise. Through such discussion, team members develop a sense of ownership in the decision, because all parties have had a say in the decision.”


You should note: If one person refuses to agree, there is no consensus until all can “minimally agree”.


What is a Quorum:
The presence of at least one member from each mandated group will constitute a quorum (Teacher/Administrator/Parent). All SBMTs will have one from each of its mandated constituted groups before matters can be discussed.


When a Plan is Submitted:
As per our October 27, 2020 email, teachers, while looking forward to being with their students in person, have expressed concerns relating to the District’s “Reopening Plan – Phase I”, due Wednesday, October 28, 2020 that is being completed by the principals.


They are being unreasonably asked for a possible commitment without being provided with critical information.


We advise teachers to indicate that before being able to answer questions relating to their willingness to work in person with students, at a minimum, the following should be provided to them for a tentative response:

  • Written copies of the sanitization procedures/schedules in their building.
  • Written copies of the entry testing procedures for all entering and also procedures for those, e.g. students exiting the buildings.
  • Written copies of the procedures relating to suspected/confirmed cases of COVID-19.
  • Written copies of their schedules, i.e. subject/grade level, reporting times, class size, room assignments, movement of students, i.e. schedules provided and posted as is done currently.
  • Copies of Reopening Plan(s) for building(s) to which they are assigned that have been agreed to by each site-based team, the District and the BTF.