ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — 23,000 students in the Rochester City School District are expected to return to in-person learning Thursday.
This is the first time in more than a year, nearly all students will be returning for in-person learning five days a week. Last school year, most students participated in hybrid or remote learning.
“I am excited for school, which I don’t have to do on zoom or on a chrome book, because it’s better in person and you get more help,” said Mariana, a 5th grade student.
7th grader Jose Rodriguez agrees.
“In virtual class, it was just so hard at home, having frustrations with stuff, but now that I am in actual school, it’s more fun to get to talk to my friends more and see my teachers again,” Rodriguez said.
Many parents are excited to send children back to in-person learning too. Learning online or going back-and-forth to class, wasn’t always easy.
“These kids really need it. They really need to get back to school work. A lot of kids can handle things remotely, but a lot of them are really lost and with the pandemic,” said Dana Davis, a mother of student at School 22
On Wednesday, RCSD teachers spent the day preparing to welcome students back safely. Caitlin Law, a music teacher at School 29, said she is super excited to see her students Thursday.
“I know last year when we returned for in person, I had tears of joy. It was it was a great moment,” Law said. “It will be great to kind of bring it all here again. I’m going to have them back in my room, we’ll be able to safely use our instruments and be able to make music together again, it’s really exciting.”
To keep her music students safe, Law has changed her classroom setup to help with social distancing.
“It’s definitely been a creative time for being a teacher, but that’s what we do. We create, we innovate, and we look for new ways to do better for our students,” Law said.
Law hasn’t had all her students back in-person since March of 2020. Last year, she taught many of them remotely and others did hybrid learning.
“The thing that was really good about remote though, is it gave us the opportunity to have more individual conversations with students and really do those checkins. So bringing them all back in person, it’s really going to be taking that to another level and letting them build those connections together and with us as a school community,” Law said.
Law said it make take a little time to adjust with everyone back, but she believes it will be beneficial for kids.
“I think for especially like our younger kiddos, being able to have that social interaction, it’s so important for them with learning. And I think that it’s going to be an adjustment period, and that we’re all going to be able to work together to support them as they’re learning to interact with each other,” Law said.
The Rochester City School District is requiring teachers to either be vaccinated against COVID-19 or tested weekly. Masking will also be required for students, staff, and visitors in public buildings, along with social distancing.
Law said students did a good job following guidelines last year.
“I think that they were very encouraging of each other as well, with following the safety guidelines. So it’s really everybody was all in on making sure everybody was able to be here in school and be safe.”
The Rochester City School District is not offering remote learning this year and families cannot opt out of in-person instruction. However, there may be times where the district will temporarily move to remote learning during an emergency situation, like the current transpiration crisis.