RCSD students, staff return to in-person learning

Raven Brown
Updated: January 05, 2021 05:40 PM
Created: January 05, 2021 01:56 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — After nine months of not seeing a classroom, more than 300 Rochester City School District students with special needs and those in specialized classes were welcomed back on campus Tuesday. 

There were cheers and fistbumps at Edison Tech as students with special needs and those in specialized programs walked through the doors for the first time since March as a part of the district's phased reopening. 

“A lot of questions, but we tried to make sure that we communicate as best as possible with our parents and also our staff too,” Principal Jacob Scott said. 

Scott said this has been a long wait, but they are ready to be back. He said they welcomed back around 80 students including some from East, Franklin, and North Star schools as well as 92 staff. He said anyone coming in has to fill out a health consent form before stepping foot inside. 

“Once that's filled out, I get that information, but once they also get here, too every staff member signs in, and then their temperature is taken,” Scott said. 

Across RCSD, many schools fall in the orange zone and have to test 20% of students and staff in each building. The state provides shallow nose swab tests, which will then be administered by the school health office staff. 

“They’re good kids, and I have no doubt that they have good intentions, but there's going to be a lot of social coaching and that's difficult with over at 10% positivity rate right now, you know,” teacher Nickole Lobdell said. 

Lobdell teaches in the district, she said she's happy safety steps are in place and ready to see the kids, but the timing of reopening is concerning. 

“On the flip side, all of that scary stuff that's going on right now really makes you question things as you are walking around,” Lobdell said. 

Scott said it's time to get students back on track, and they are doing everything from social distancing desks, disinfecting, and including isolation rooms, in case anyone starts to feel sick. 

“I feel very confident in what's going on, and we will just take this day by day. and we'll just try to get better,” Scott said. 

Students in the district can get tested by their personal healthcare provider, or at any community testing site as long as results are in within a week.

City schools are planning to start the second phase of in-person learning on Feb. 8 for general students in grades Pre-K through 6. Grades 7-12 will begin virtual learning with learning pods on March 1. 

Click here to read the district's reopening plan.

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