Will RCSD reconsider ‘Test to Stay’?

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Gov. Kathy Hochul told school superintendents across New York State on Tuesday that she wants to keep kids in school through this COVID surge. She’s urging all districts to implement “Test to Stay.” Locally, most are already participating in the program, the only one that has opted-out, is the Rochester City School District.

Over the course of the last few weeks, RCSD has explained that it doesn’t have the resources to execute “Test to Stay” but parents and board members have been upset about the decision.

On Tuesday, after Hochul urged “Test to Stay” again, News10NBC Investigative Reporter Jennifer Lewke had another conversation with the district.

Jennifer Lewke – We know obviously RCSD has opted out of that program, are you reconsidering?

Marisol Ramos-Lopez – Well, one of the things that we are doing is…we are reaching out to the City and the County to talk about the resources that are available to implement Test to Stay. Our concerns related to Test to Stay remain because it is an issue of resources, people-power, testing resources and families ability to get to and from wherever the testing sites are going to be

Jennifer Lewke – There are other big cities that have found a way to do it.

Marisol Ramos-Lopez – There are districts like Syracuse who are implementing Test to Stay and while Syracuse is smaller than Rochester, it is one of the larger districts. They are doing it in partnership with the county and so as long as we have an understanding of the resources that are available to us because as it stands the Rochester City School District going at it alone, is an impossibility based on 23,000 students.

Jennifer Lewke – So, at this point, it’s put your money where your mouth is… if you’re promising to help let’s see it?

Marisol Ramos-Lopez – I think the important thing is, come to the table and understand what the issues are for us.

Jennifer Lewke – It seems like you made the decision fairly quickly that it was too big of a mountain to climb… had you or will you now reach out directly to the Governor, directly to the state and say, “Hey if you want us to implement Test to Stay here’s what we need to do to do it?”

Marisol Ramos-Lopez – I’m going to start by disagreeing with you and telling you that you may think our decision was taken lightly and that we made it quickly but we did not.

Jennifer Lewke – Will you go directly to the Governor if that’s what it takes?

Marisol Ramos-Lopez – If the governor decides this is something she wants implemented in every single school district, we’ll have to come to her and discuss what the needs are, where the challenges are for the Rochester City School District.