ABC, RTA and parents discuss Rochester City School District's reopening plan | WHEC.com

ABC, RTA and parents discuss Rochester City School District's reopening plan

Raven Brown
Updated: February 02, 2021 05:33 PM
Created: February 02, 2021 11:59 AM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The reopening of schools in the Rochester City School District is causing a lot of controversy among the community, as some say, the kids need to be back in school, but others are not in support of the plan. 

Parent Walida Monroe-Sims says it's time to take a step back from political opinions and let the parents decide what is best for them.

“It is totally up to the parent and the students, their families on what returning to school looks like for them,” Monroe-Sims said. “No one gets to determine that for you.”

This comes after the Rochester Teachers Association voted to adopt a "no confidence" resolution for the city school district's reopening plan.

“We know that the district is following the guidelines set by the CDC, our local medical professionals and also the state education department which are the same guidelines that have been followed by the other 20 school districts in the county,” Action for a Better Community President and CEO Jerome Underwood said. 

Underwood said they fully support RCSD reopening for in-person learning and in a statement, said the RTA’s position lacks a moral spine and perpetuates structural racism because not everyone has the opportunity to work from home.

“In those lower-paying jobs they are dominated by people of color and more so women of color,” Underwood said. “They don't have the option to work from home, remote learning presents an economic hardship on them.”

RTA President Adam Urbanski's response to that statement:

“It's simply not true,” Urbanski said. “Teachers of our students in city schools are dedicated to their students, they love their students, they go way beyond the call of duty attending to their academic needs and their social and emotional needs.”

Urbanski said they have the same goal to get students back in the classroom but want the district to be more prepared.

“They are asking teachers to teach simultaneously the students in front of them and the students who are remote," Urbanski said. "In order to do that well you need technology, you need chrome brooks for all students at home and in the classroom, you need cameras in the classroom, projection equipment, smartboards, screens all of that, and the district is not prepared to do that."

Monroe-Sims said at the end of the day it's the parents’ voice that matters 

“Parent voice not only matters but parent voice should be utilized, we are the experts," she said "We are the executive decision-makers for our children every day and no one gets to determine that for us."

RTA leadership previously said it may call for a vote of no confidence in Superintendent Dr. Lesli Myers-Small if she moves forward with the current plan, but Urbanski said they are doing everything they can to avoid that.


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