RCSD stays remote, students with special needs have option to return to class Jan. 4

Berkeley Brean
Created: October 29, 2020 06:18 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The Rochester City School District is going to stay remote until Jan. 4. At that point, students with special needs in specialized classes have the option to return to a school for in-person learning.

In a recent teachers' union survey, eight out of 10 teachers said they want to stay remote. 

So the union says they're on board with the decision to stay remote. Now they have to figure out what teachers are coming back for the students coming back.

JJ and Arianna Okeen are siblings at the city's Montessori School, Number 53. 

Their classroom is their kitchen table. 

I contacted their mother after the school district's decision to stay remote. 

Melissa Okeen, RCSD parent: "I'm comfortable with them being at home and I'm lucky enough to be able to be there to support them while they're in school."

Brean: "Are the teacher's okay with this decision?"

Adam Urbanksi, President of RTA: "Well we're certainly okay with the superintendent's agreements that the overwhelming number of students about 98% of them and their teachers will continue to remote teaching and learning."

The decision by the city school district means more than 25,000 students stay remote through January. Approximately 800 children with special needs in specialized classes have the option to return to in-person school after new years. 

Brean: "Are you confident it will be safe for the children and the teachers that go back?"

Urbanksi: "Well that is yet to be seen. We're actually going to engage our own specialist on safety in schools."

In a recent school district survey, 75% of teachers and parents wanted to stay remote. 

But the superintendent told me the overwhelming number of students six through 12 voted to come back. 

Dr. Lesli Myers-Small, RCSD Superintendent: "Overwhelmingly positive about we want to come back, we can do it, we can wear the masks."

But they also told the superintendent they understood the need for safety. 

Myers-Small: "They were so encouraging, I left that focus group and I was like we have amazing young people."

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