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RCSD Looks at Bringing Students in Grades 7-12 Back to Classrooms

Patti Singer

RCSD Superintendent Lesli Myers-Small on Dec. 18, 2020, announced the reopening plan. At that time, grades 7-12 were to stay with remote instruction. On Dec. 30, she announced she is considering a hybrid option. File photo

City students in grades 7-12 who so far have been denied in-person learning may get back into the classroom this academic year.

On Dec. 30, Rochester City School District Superintendent Lesli Myers-Small said she has instructed her team to work on a plan to give two days of in-person teaching to students who selected hybrid learning.

Myers-Small made the announcement through a news release. She did not elaborate on who is part of the team or the deadline for their plan.

“When our plan is finalized, I will present it to you, in the same manner I have in the past with greater details,” she wrote in the news release. “Our District’s primary core belief is that students are our first priority and will drive each decision. I have been steadfast in my desire to have students back in school, and will work tirelessly to develop the best way to do that.”

Starting Jan. 5, students in specialized programs in kindergarten through 12th grade who opted for hybrid instruction will have four days of in-person teaching and one day of remote instruction.

Starting Feb. 8, pre-K through grade six students will start hybrid instruction. According to a survey of families conducted in December, 33% said they wanted the hybrid option, which combines in-person with remote instruction.

Only 26% of families of students in grades 7-12 said they wanted the hybrid model. When Myers-Small announced the district’s reopening plan on Dec. 18, she said about one-third of the families would have needed to select the hybrid option for her to include that in the reopening plan.

“I strongly believe Pre K – 12 students need to be back in school,” Myers-Small wrote in the news release announcing the reconsideration for the older students. “For the sake of equity and opportunity to that of elementary students, I have asked my team to work on a plan that could bring those students who selected hybrid learning in grades 7-12 back into our buildings for two days of in-person learning in early 2021.”

She also wrote, “Medical experts have provided the administration and the Board with research and statistics to support that schools are the safest place for students. I want our students to have the option to receive their education in school.”