‘We need to get them back in school’: RCSD Parent Forum addresses major changes


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Rochester City School District held a public forum in order for parents to learn more about the start of the new school year Saturday. 

Questions, ranging from a variety of topics including technology, transportation, and health were all covered.

One major change this fall includes a daily at-home screening. Every parent must screen their child before school each day; that includes a temperature check, and answering a few COVID-related questions.

The district is asking this of staff, too.

“Temperatures need to be under 100.4 without the aid of any fever reducers or medications,” Stacie Darbey, Coordinator of School Environmental Health and Safety said.

Another major change is the use of zoom classrooms. Sessions are back inside the building for all, unless there’s a medical exemption. But some parents in the forum had the following question: if a child is home-sick one day, can they tune in via zoom, like in the past?

While it may be convenient, it’s not allowed moving forward.

“As a result of that expectation moving forward in that way, there will not be an option to zoom or remote in,” Dr. Kathy Black, Chief Academic Officer said.

Some parents voiced they would’ve liked to continue with full remote learning. But what if they don’t have a district-approved medical exemption?

“I don’t want this to sound harsh, or that we don’t care, but the option would be to home school your child,” Dr. Myers-Small said. “And certainly we can process that information, if you want to homeschool for a little bit of time and then come back in the district, that is something we can do as well.”

Parent Maurice Haskins says he is overall happy with these plans, but worries for those families desiring a remote-learning route.

“I don’t feel like there is a collective voice all the time,” Haskins said. “As opposed to us really being a part of that process in regards to the decision making.”

Dr. Myers-Small says she believes the 100% in-person learning model is the best path forward at this point, especially with all staff receiving the COVID vaccine.

“Many of our scholars have been in remote learning since March 13, 2020, and we need to get them back into school,” Dr. Myers-Small said.

She says the district has been working with county health leaders and going over CDC guidance.

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