Returning to school in the COVID-19 Era


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — As some elementary students return to full-time, in-person learning in the Rochester area, middle and high school students remain hybrid and remote.

Dr. Mathew Devine, the Medical Director at Highland Family Medicine, discussed why some elementary students are returning to full-time, in-person learning and what measures are in place to keep students, faculty, and staff safe Tuesday during News 8 at Sunrise.

Why is now the right time for elementary students to transition back to full-time, in-person?

Despite the amazing efforts of teachers, parents, and students with remote study, the best model for ongoing learning is at school. By continuing to learn about infection rates the CDC has been able to provide updated guidance to help make sure that we can send children back safely.

What are the practices in place that will keep students, teachers, and staff safe?

Dr. Devine recommended the following link for perspective on this question:

All those over 16 are now eligible to get vaccinated, so this will continue.
In addition, safe practices for staff and children remain in place including masking, physical distancing, and daily screening. Cohorts allow elementary students to remain in the same classroom.
The facilities will be properly ventilated and cleaned.
If illness develops contact tracing will be used.

What will it take for middle and high schoolers to follow suit?

The infection rate remains too high. It must come down to enable reduced distancing from 6 to 3 feet.
The rate on the CDC Data Tracker as of last week was over 200 per 100,000 residents in Monroe County. The County Data through Monday indicates still over 200 per 100,000 residents in Monroe County. The rate needs to be under 100.
Remember, the difference is that middle and high school students are not in groups or cohorts in terms of moving throughout the school to different classrooms. They mix for their classes. Elementary school students are in standalone classes.
Guidance will be decided on a week-by-week basis.

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