RCSD students with special needs returning to in-person instruction Tuesday

Patrick Moussignac
Updated: January 05, 2021 08:55 AM
Created: January 04, 2021 06:43 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Some Rochester City School District teachers will finally see their students face to face Tuesday morning. More than 300 students with special needs will return as part of the district's first of three reopening phases. 

News10NBC talked to one teacher who is getting ready for their return. After months of remote learning, this is a much-welcomed change for both students, and teachers.

It's an exciting time for everyone. Tuesday morning students return for the first time since the pandemic struck back in March. Scott Lazarek teaches at Wilson High School and is ready for the reopen despite some changes.

"Most of my students have opted to stay home. I've got a small number of students that are coming in. I can't wait to see them," Lazarek said.

Out of about 12 students, Lazarek says he's expecting about six to return. He's going into this with some mixed feelings. 

"I miss the students very much. I'm concerned for their safety, and the safety of my colleagues at the same time. I guess you just can say it's very, a lot of mixed emotions," Lazarek said.

RCSD Superintendent Dr. Lesli Myers-Small says teachers have been busy for weeks preparing for the reopening.

"We opened up schools a couple of weeks ago to allow our staff, so teachers and other staff to come in, to get classrooms set up and to make sure they're configured in ways that would work for them," Myers-Small said.

Lazarek says many teachers will face some challenges along the way. Special needs students may have a tough time adjusting from the way they experienced school before the pandemic.

"Now when they come in the halls are going to be empty. It's a very sterile environment. You're not in the comfort of your own home. You're sitting in a desk, and you have to be masked," Lazarek said.

For now, teachers like Lazarek will take it day by day.

"We will just do the very best that we can. The circumstances aren't ideal, but our job is to make sure they're safe and provide an enriching learning experience for them," Lazarek said.

"A classroom that certainly might look a little bit different than they're accustomed to because the desk will be spaced certainly appropriately, but they can expect a teacher, and other staff who will greet them warmly, and that are really, really excited to see them," Myers-Small added.

Phase two is expected to begin on Feb. 8 when grades Pre-K through 6 begin hybrid learning. 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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