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RCSD Plans Five-Day Return to Classrooms on Sept. 8

Patti Singer

City families will have to opt out of in-person learning when the 2021-22 school year starts Sept. 8.

Rochester City School District Superintendent Lesli Myers-Small announced that all students will return to classrooms for five days of instruction when the new academic year starts.

Families who want to continue remote learning will have to call their children’s school or go to, go to the drop-down menu, choose remote and select submit. Families who want the remote option have to respond by May 7. Otherwise, students will be enrolled as in-person learners.

“I want to be very clear, you have to elect remote learning,” Myers-Small said April 15.

The full return to classrooms comes after the state Department of Health recently relaxed distancing guidelines from six feet to three feet.

Asked why RCSD is waiting until September, Myers-Small said there were too many logistical factors – such as transportation and schedules — to rush the return.

“I recognize that some of my suburban counterparts are intending to come back as early as next week,” she said. “… We wanted to be very thoughtful about what our next steps were. We have to take into consideration every aspect of our district, particularly size.”

Myers-Small did not forecast the percentage of students who would be returning to classrooms in September. When the district partially reopened this year, she said interest had to hit a certain threshold for some grades. She said that come September, all grades would be in-person regardless of the number of students attending.

“We’re making an assumption, based on what we hear and what we know, most families would like to come back to in person.”

Teachers will be assigned to either classroom or remote learning – the same instructor will not be doing both at the same time.

Of course, the plan is predicated on the current state guidelines. Should those change, the district will have to adjust:

If the state requires six-feet of physical distance in classrooms, the district will have a hybrid model:

  • General education students would attend two consecutive days a week to receive in-person instruction. These days will be either Monday-Tuesday or Thursday-Friday. The other three days are delivered virtually.
  • Students with specialized services would attend school four days a week to receive in-person instruction, with Wednesday being remote instruction delivered virtually.
  • Students would have the option of 100% remote instruction.

If the state were to prevent in-person instruction, all students would have fully remote classes.