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Back To School: Facts First town hall tonight at 7 p.m.

Back to School: Facts First

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Parents, teachers, students, and everyone else involved in the public education sphere have a lot of questions about reopening schools.

That’s why News 8 WROC will host a town hall at 7 p.m. Wednesday with local officials and education leaders — including Monroe County Public Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza and Rochester City School District Superintendent Dr. Lesli Myers-Small — to answer the questions you have about the reopening process.

We’ll also have segments with URMC officials as well as the New York State Department of Education Commissioner.

We want to know your thoughts and concerns — send your questions through email at, to our Facebook, or to our Twitter.

Questions on reopening schools

Jim Emerson — What is the status of last year’s overspent school funds? How will this affect the 2020- 2021 school year?

Bob Hyman — Question for Dr. Mendoza:

We’ve seen new research about aerosols; they may travel more than 6 feet as droplets do. Common sense would say that over the longer distance, they likely dissipate more and so the odds of enough virus particles traveling, say 10 feet and contacting a person must be much smaller than droplets within 6 feet. In other words, aren’t some headlines that say aerosols are ‘smoking guns” overreaction? Thanks.

Fred — How are bus drivers going to be realistically protected from sick students when there is no reliable effective form of screening before they board the school bus?

Andrea — I have three questions:

  • Why is neither New York state nor the Monroe County Department of Public Health mandating any COVID-19 testing of faculty, staff, or students?
  • How will schools control the spread of COVID-19 from asymptomatic individuals, given that there is no mandated testing in place?
  • What is the Monroe County Department of Health’s Response to the Monroe County Federation of Teachers’ call for a delay on in-person learning in schools?

MORE | Monroe County Federation of Teachers calls for delay on in-person learning in schools

Olivia — I have three questions:

  • There is good data to suggest that without addressing air filtration and circulation, the 6-feet rule does not prevent transmission indoors. Will outdoor air supply rates (ventilation) be increased in school buildings, including classrooms, and how will the school verify that ventilation is adequate?
  • Does the ventilation system use a filter with a rating of MERV 13 or higher for the air going into classrooms and has it been inspected or replaced recently?
  • There is conflicting messaging on mask-wearing in the RCSD plan. The plan said mask are required and followed up document said they are encouraged. Will students be required to wear a mask during instruction?

Patrice — I have two questions:

  • Do these hybrid schedules actually minimize risk, or are they just a consequence of schools lacking space for appropriate distance?
  • Who will monitor students during unmasked lunch breaks and is it for safe for lunchroom monitors? Also when teachers return to the classroom where students were unmasked, what precautions are in place to make sure COVID-19 hasn’t become airborne?

Brandy — My question is for Dr. Mendoza. I very much so would like your opinion on if you yourself had elementary age children, would you sign them up for hybrid learning or would you go with 100% virtual learning? I, as a mother of a now 3rd grader, am still torn. Which is why I would greatly value your honest opinion. 

Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.

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