RCSD community reacts to reopening plan

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — One day after the State Department of Health announced that school districts should develop their own reopening guidance plans, the Rochester City School District has released its plan for the new school year.

Right off the top, the plan says all students and staff will be wearing a mask indoors regardless of their vaccination status. News10NBC found out what parents and school leaders are saying about the plan.

RCSD will follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s guidance for their school reopening plans. Besides wearing a mask, and urging that all students over 12 be vaccinated, the District has a few other criteria.

With the first day of school scheduled for Sept. 8, Rochester City Schools Superintendent Lesli Myers-Small, Ed.D. shared the District’s reopening plans with parents. The plan includes COVID-19 safety protocols we’re all familiar with.

Rochester Teacher Association Union President Adam Urbanski said he agrees with Myers-Small, but doesn’t believe the plan goes far enough.

"This plan seems reasonable if, except for the screening part of kids at home, and except for the fact that it ignores the social, emotional needs of our students, but otherwise it’s a reasonable plan," Urbanski said.

He went on to say that he will meet with the Superintendent next week to go over the plans, which so far have no clear social distancing limits or limits on the number of students in a classroom. The district’s plan also calls on parents to screen their children daily before they go to school.

Urbanski said he believes this should be a school’s responsibility.

"We should actually look for signs of infection, or potential infection at schools as well. Why not? We do that when we enter public buildings," Urbanski said.

Dawn Flowers Thompson works at Flower City School Number 54. She said she’s ready to adopt the current guidance and any changes that might happen during the school year.

"We are in a continuously changing situation, and we have to do whatever is going to ensure as much safety as possible," Flowers Thompson said.

Some parents like Chante Pollock agree as well.

"I just think every kid should be protected because we really don’t know, you know really the variants of the COVID. So you know with the little kids I really feel bad for them so they can be protected," Pollock said.

The plan also allows for students who applied for and received approval for a medical exemption to continue with their remote learning.