Buffalo Public Schools flip-flopped on school masking, district administration explains why

BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) — The Buffalo Public School district flip-flopped on face masks in schools this week.

On Feb. 28, the district announced they were going to hold off on unmasking schools, then late Tuesday night, they decided to unmask kids instead.

Most of the schools in Western New York planned to unmask kids on March 2nd, as the state health department outlined.

dr. Tonja M. Williams, associate superintendent of student support services, said they wanted to extend the masking in schools, but in order to do that, they needed to have approval from the health department and they did not have that.

“We were informed yesterday, that according to the regulations that the governor put out, the local health department would need to recommend that this extension would be able to happen,” Williams said. “Although we certainly had our Erie County Health Department partners at the table with us, they did not make the recommendation that that could happen.”

Williams says there are several reasons why the district’s medical advisory team was hesitant about unmasking.

“We were coming off of a winter break, the first day back was on Monday. We know that several staff members and children travel to areas where they’re lax on masking, compared to New York State,” Williams said. “We wanted to see what the numbers would look like at the end of the week for that.”

Angelica Morrison is an award-winning reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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