RCSD, several suburban districts say take laptops home over break just in case COVID forces remote in January

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The Rochester City School District directed all students to take home their tablets and laptops over the holiday break in the event COVID delays the start of in-person classes in January.

We decided to ask all the other school districts in Monroe County if they’re doing the same thing.

A number of districts said it’s routine for students to take home their devices, but at least four suburban districts sent a message to parents Wednesday or will tomorrow that is similar to the message parents in the city got.

At School 46 in Rochester, students lined up to get a box of rapid COVID tests. There are two tests in the box and a letter to parents.

Stacie Darbey, RCSD Environmental health and safety: "They’re complete with directions so that families can test hopefully right before a gathering. And the next hope is that they test right before they come back to school."

Stacie Darbey runs RCSD’s environmental health and safety. She was the person carting the tests from class to class.

In addition to the test, the school district tweeted they’re asking students to "bring home their technology" so that everyone is "fully prepared" if the district has to go back to remote learning.

The district tweeted the plan right now is to return to class on Jan. 3.

Darbey: "That’s what all of this is for – it’s that preparation for that just in case."

Wednesday, Honeoye Falls-Lima told students and staff to bring their devices home "that way, should we ever have to consider a remote or snow day, or you need to isolate or quarantine, you would be prepared to do so."

In West Irondequoit, which had to close last Friday because of a shortage of staff, the district told parents as a precaution "we are asking all students and staff to take their 1:1 devices home over break so we are prepared for remote learning if anything changes."

Wheatland-Chili said bring devices home "should the district have the need to go into remote learning for any reason."

Parents in Spencerport should expect a similar message Thursday.

Four districts, East Irondequoit, Gates-Chili, Pittsford and Rush-Henrietta said students routinely bring devices home but they did not send a precautionary message to parents.

To be clear — every district says the plan is to be back in class on Jan. 3.