Parents in the Buffalo Public Schools will have at least one child care option still available while they wait for the city schools to reopen.
The school district, with assistance from Erie County, will keep open “until further notice” the more than four dozen “virtual learning centers” across the city that have been supervising children during the day while they learn remotely amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Erie County, using emergency assistance from the federal government, opened more than 70 learning centers across the county in September, including 52 in Buffalo. The free service is set to expire at the end of December.
Schools in Buffalo, however, aren’t reopening until Feb. 1, so closing the centers in the city would affect about 1,800 kids who rely on them.
“The district is working closely with our funding partners…and will keep virtual learning centers open until further notice as we transition to in-person learning Feb. 1,” Will Keresztes, the district’s chief of intergovernmental affairs, planning and community engagement, wrote to the Board of Education.
Keresztes noted that the School Board will be asked to approve funding for the centers in January.
In Buffalo, the learning centers have been open from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, providing a lifeline for working parents while the district is fully remote. The centers provide students in kindergarten through eighth grade with supervision, WiFi connectivity and meals while they are learning virtually during the school day.