A quick review after 6 months of hard riding and testing revealed a few issues.
The main issue discussed here was indeed remedied by removing the screw, bending back the ratchet strap to a greater angle than could be achieved while the buckle was on the shoe in order to reach the point of clearing the release lip. Alternatively, I have read that others have successfully made a shim out of the aluminum wall of a soda can or very thin blade/screwdriver/etc. to slide beneath the ratcheting mechanism from the back, thereby inhibiting the ratchet tooth and strap interface where they then we’re able to slide out the strap.
Thanks for watching!