RCSD will pivot to remote learning starting Thursday

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Limited staff and subs have prompted the Rochester City School District to temporarily go online starting Thursday, Jan. 6.

The Omicron surge has been felt through school systems nationwide. Now, RCSD will be temporarily moving to online learning because of a limited number of staff and shortages of substitute teachers.

Students will have asynchronous learning on Thursday, Jan. 6 on Google Classroom or Seesaw learning tools.

From Jan. 7 to Jan. 10, RCSD students will use Google Classroom or Seesaw but follow usual schedules for online classes with their teachers.

To help students with the challenge of remote learning, RCSD will provide grab-and-go meals from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 15 school sites:

  • John Williams School No. 5 (555 Plymouth Avenue, 14608)
  • Virgil I. Grissom School No. 7 (31 Bryan Street, 14613)
  • Roberto Clemente School No. 8 (1180 St. Paul Street, 14621)
  • Enrico Fermi School No. 17 (158 Orchard Street, 14611)
  • Charles T. Lunsford School No. 19 (465 Seward Street, 14608)
  • Henry Hudson School No. 28 (450 Humboldt Street, 14610)
  • Abelard Reynolds School No. 42 (3330 Lake Avenue, 14612)
  • Mary McLeod Bethune School No. 45 (1445 Clifford Avenue, 14621)
  • Helen Barrett Montgomery School No. 50 (301 Seneca Avenue, 14621)
  • Freddie Thomas Campus (625 Scio Street, 14605)
  • Rochester International Academy/Jefferson Campus (1 Edgerton Park, 14608)
  • Wilson Foundation Academy (200 Genesee Street, 14611)
  • Franklin Campus (950 Norton Street, 14621)
  • Monroe Campus (164 Alexander Street, 14607)
  • East Campus (1801 E. Main Street, 14609)

Athletics will continue as scheduled unless notified otherwise by coaches. NorthSTAR and OACES will remain open for in-person studies. Also, all out-of-District transportation will go on as planned.

RCSD is planning on Tues., Jan. 11 as the return to in-person classes, but will provide an update by noon on Jan. 10.

Click here for more information.

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"I would imagine that Rochester is not going to the only district that will make these shift,” Myers-Small said.

Myers-Small said she agrees school is the safest place for students, but can’t sacrifice their health and safety in the process.

“I along with my colleagues have a responsibility to make sure teaching and learning happen in the district but I’m also responsible for their health and safety and right now we have difficult situations because of the staffing shortages and I want to make sure that we will be able to do that in ways that they are able to learn,” Myers-Small said.

The shift begins tomorrow where students will learn asynchronously and then synchronously on Friday and Monday.

Athletics will continue and the district will provide transportation as well as 15 sites for grab-and-go meals for breakfast and lunch.
Myers-Small said they do have chrome books and mi-fi devices available for those who need them.

“They can reach out to their school and they can talk with the school principal or who answers the phone and that will be made available and staff will be reporting in person so we will have staff at schools on Thursday, Friday and Monday,” Myers-Small said.

Rochester Teachers Association President Adam Urbanski said he understands the concerns some parents have about this pivot but thinks this is the best option right now.

“While this is all very inconvenient for all of us, what’s even worse is to expose children and their teachers to outbreaks of the virus because it’s surging,” Urbanski said.

Myers-Small said right now, the plan is to keep this move a temporary one and anticipate a return to in-person learning on Tuesday, Jan. 11 and will provide an update by noon on Monday.

“It’s our goal to again work with stakeholders to make sure this doesn’t last for a significant amount of time and at this time my expectation is that we will be back on Tuesday but I will assess that,” Small said.

Small said they plan on holding more vaccinated opportunities available for students and staff and plan on giving KN-95 masks when their distribution comes next week.

Watch the full news conference in the video in the player below (mobile users, click here):

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