We call on Rochester City School District Superintendent Dr. Lesli Myers-Small to join the cities of Buffalo and Syracuse and delay the current plan to return to in-person instruction on January 5. RCSD schools should remain closed until:
1. ALL instructional spaces will follow CDC guidelines for lower risk schooling including, but not limited to:
- Students and staff able to be six feet apart at all times
- a hand washing or hand sanitizing station in each space with adequate supplies
- plexiglass partitions where social distancing cannot be followed, and walking paths are marked with tape on the floor.
- No mixing of groups of students and teachers throughout/across school days
- Students and teachers do not share objects
- Regularly scheduled (i.e., at least daily or between uses) cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched areas implemented with fidelity
- Updated ventilation or a window that opens in each classroom
2. RCSD will fully comply with the CDC Guidelines stating “Training should be provided to all staff, including substitute teachers and other temporary personnel. Communication and training for staff should be easy to understand and be provided in languages other than English, as needed.”
***A MAJORITY OF RCSD STAFF REQUIRED TO RETURN HAVE NOT RECEIVED TRAINING.
***All educators are directed to live and teach during contractual hours on January 4, 2021.
Why should we delay reopening?
- On November 19, 2020, when this plan was presented at the Board of Education meeting, COVID-19 positive rates in Monroe County were 3.5%.
- On December 18, 2020 when this plan was finalized to the public COVID-19 positive rates were 8.3%.
- On January 1, 2021 COVID-19 positive cases in Monroe County had a 9.9% 7-Day Average.
- On January 1, 2021 COVID-19 positive cases for ages 0-19 was more than three times more than 80+ age range.
- The current reopening plan and implementation is considered “higher risk” by the CDC.
Reopening schools now, immediately following December holidays, will cause infection rates to increase dramatically, putting our children, teachers, school staff and their families on the front line of the second wave of the virus. We are not prepared to keep ourselves and our student safe, we must pause this plan and reevaluate on 1/11/2021 when holiday surge numbers are available.