RCSD reopening plan allows some students to continue all-remote learning

Patrick Moussignac
Updated: December 18, 2020 11:14 PM
Created: December 18, 2020 10:50 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — We've been hearing it for several weeks now, schools are safe for both students and staff. The Rochester City School District agrees, and Friday announced its reopening plans. 

The only thing is, not every student will be going back this school year. News10NBC talked to both a parent and the President of the Teachers Union about the announcement. 

RCSD Superintendent Dr. Lesli Myers-Small is reopening schools with the first part of her three-phase plan beginning right after the holiday break. About 325 students in the District's Specialized Programs will start both in-person classes and hybrid learning model.

"I'm excited on January fifth to welcome some students back to the district, and looking forward to finally meeting my students in person," Dr. Myers-Small said. 

Phase two of her plan will start on Feb. 8t, bringing back all Pre-K to 6th-grade students, including kids who are in bilingual, and Special Ed programs. They will attend in-person classes two days a week, and remote for the rest. Phase three includes all other students from grades 7 through 12. They will learn remotely for the rest of the school year.

"Only 25-percent of our secondary students said they wanted to come back, and only 33-percent of our Pre-K through 6," Dr. Myers-Small said.

Jona McCullough is one parent that's choosing to keep her children home. The rising infection rate is the reason why.

"They're closing down the schools now because of the rising of the kids that are getting sick, and you know things like that," McCullough said.

Her 11-year old son Romeloh attends School Number 28, and Rocco attends Urban Choice Charter School. She says they've been thriving while remote learning.

"I'm home during the day where I'm able to be right there with them and assist them in whatever they need," McCullough said. 

Friday's announcement also saw an updated "Memorandum of Understanding" between the school district and the Rochester Teachers Association. One big sticking point, not requiring teachers to come to school just to teach a class remotely. Union President Adam Urbanski says this will help keep teachers, and students safe.

"If they cannot come in, or they fear, they have anxiety, or stress about it and legitimate reasons not to be exposed, then now they don't have to be exposed," Urbanski said. 

Schools in the District are required to temperature check 20% of their students on a daily basis. If they can't, then they must return to remote learning again.

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