Monroe County School Districts work through ‘razor thin’ staff numbers to keep in-person learning

Monroe County

PENFIELD, N.Y. (WROC) — Students in the Rochester City School District have wrapped up their first day in remote learning, so what does that mean for the future of other Monroe County Public School Districts? 

Superintendent Bo Wright, who’s president of the Monroe County Council of Superintendents, explained coming back from holiday break for most districts hasn’t been easy. But they do plan to stick to in-person learning if they can keep buildings properly staffed.  

Leaders of school districts have not seen many challenges to Coronavirus outbreaks on campuses, but as many teachers and staff test positive outside of work, it’s been a struggle to fill their vacancies.  

“We are using intervention teachers, librarians, paraprofessionals to help supervise classrooms,” Superintendent Wright told us. “Everybody is walking a razor thin line right now. It’s important to say that.” 

Over in Penfield, a district spokesperson tells us they’re averaging 10-11% of their employees absent, but vow to keep children in school. Parents we spoke with agree.  

“I think they just get a better experience in the classroom,” Janelle Gutman, a mother of three in Penfield, said. “They tend to have the opportunity to learn more. I have had the privilege to stay home with my kids and I can tell you what they get when they’re in school educationally is better than what they get at home.”  

Superintendent Wright explained it’s difficult to tell when absences amongst staff may become too much of a burden on districts to not be able to properly monitor every class. So, some remote type models are already being drawn up if the time comes. 

“If I had to take a first step here in Rush-Henrietta into the waters of remote learning, I would look to do it at the secondary level first,” Superintendent Wright explained. “So that younger learners would be able to continue in-person learning so it wouldn’t create a situation for parents where they had childcare issues.” 

While sticking to an in person learning model Superintendent Bo Wright assured that his district and others are up to date on the proper technology that students who have to quarantine can take home with them so they can individually learn remotely without falling behind. 

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