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RTA votes to delay in-person classes until November in special meeting

Andrew Hyman
Updated: July 30, 2020 11:28 PM
Created: July 30, 2020 06:38 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The Rochester Teachers Association has voted to delay any in-person, on-campus instruction for the first quarter of the year.

That would be until Nov. 16.

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The vote was unanimous at a special meeting Thursday night.

A statement from RTA President Adam Urbanski says the decision was made out of concern for the health and safety of students and teachers amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In a follow-up interview with News10NBC, Urbanski said bringing students back to school this early would be "a ticking time bomb."

"All in all, I think this is a reckless decision," he said.

Under RCSD's proposed reopening plan only the Pre K-4, K-6 special classes, and K-12 specialized programs will operate on the hybrid model, and grades 5 through 12 will be remote.

Superintendent Lesli Myers-Small says hybrid families will have the option to keep their kids home all five days if they submit a request by Friday, Aug. 14. 

She called the process behind the plan, "thoughtful."

"We just didn't jump out and say it's automatically going to be a hybrid plan," Small said.

In her presentation to the board Thursday night, Small shared a survey of teachers, families and students, it showed a majority of support for the hybrid model from teachers, and a more split opposition from parents and students.

Urbanski called those charts "misleading."

While Small says she hears and understands the concerns from groups like the union and other staff, ultimately, the plan is moving forward. Small says throughout the process, she’s personally connected with groups, including the RTA.

"We know that no matter what plan we put forward, it's not going to satisfy folks," Small said.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has the final say, though Urbanski says both he and superintendent Smalls will meet to discuss the plan next week, he maintains the RTA is not backing down.

"I don't know what teachers will decide, I don't know how many will show up in September,” Urbanski said. “That is yet to be seen, but I don't want the union to fail to advocate for both students and their teachers."


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