New York school district delays start of year after mass resignations, leaves of absence

A school district near Buffalo, N.Y., delayed the beginning of its school year on Friday for students learning remotely, releasing a statement blaming the move on dozens of resignations and sick leave requests from teachers in the district.

In a statement released Friday, the Williamsville Central School District said students learning remotely or through hybrid models would see their school years delayed indefinitely. Those returning to in-person hybrid learning models would apparently see their classes start on Tuesday.

The statement blamed the decision on 90 school employees who requested sick leave absences due to COVID-19 as well as the resignations of more than 100 employees.

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"Delaying the start of our fully remote online learning model is currently the best path forward," said the district's superintendent, Scott Martzloff.

Officials from the Williamsville Teachers' Association blasted the superintendent's statement on Twitter, noting that only six members of the district's teaching staff had resigned and pointing out that the number also included dozens of retirements the district was notified about before March of the last school year.

"So we are expected to believe that four teachers retiring and six teachers resigning in the past five months causes the district to be unable to provide remote learning?" reads a statement from the union.

School officials around the country have struggled with finding optimal ways for students to return to classes in the fall; many large school districts around the U.S. have resorted to all-online models due to the ongoing fears related to the coronavirus outbreak.