Keep students and teachers safe - have Rochester schools implement remote learning

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The Rochester School District has voted with a 9-4 majority to reopen schools full time for the fall semester with the option of online teaching through VLACS. While the plans laid out include many necessary covid-19 preventative measures (most of which aren't even followed by adults), it's unreasonable to expect children to be able to adhere to them. With that said, a safer and more reasonable remote or hybrid reopening plan must be considered.

We stand with the Rochester Federation of Teachers and Paraprofessionals who have stated that "the only safe way to return to school at this time is through Remote Instruction taught by our own teachers".

As a medical student and the son of one of the most hard-working educators imaginable, I speak for many others in saying that I’m ashamed of the Rochester School District for choosing to endanger the lives of both the students and teachers who trust them.

We should be dedicated to doing what’s right for our students, some of whom can’t rely on parents to make decisions with their safety in mind.

Our teachers already make more sacrifices than most can imagine to do what’s best for our students, and now they're being asked to potentially sacrifice their lives? To add insult to injury, replacing our hard working educators who are unable to teach in schools due to being high-risk for covid with a program such as VLACS completely disrespects all the compromises they've made to go above and beyond to foster our student's education.

Did those who voted for reopening know that for every patient who dies of covid, nearly 20 are hospitalized? Did they know more than half of those have permanent heart or lung damage? Did they think about what will happen if this causes covid to spread rapidly in our community, or what families will do if their child gets covid and they can’t afford to hospitalize them? Those who have worked in schools know there is no safe way to bring back students during a pandemic, especially when much of the data we have about reopening schools come from foreign countries with much different health policies and from studies concluding much is still unknown. It's too soon to reopen our schools while we have such inconclusive information. We won’t stand for having our teachers dragged back into schools with complete disregard for their safety.

Not one student or teacher deserves to die because of this decision.

When our yearbooks have an “in memory of” section at the end of the year, it’ll already be too late to take it back. But that doesn’t have to be the reality.


The RTF statement to the school board can be found here:


Links to just a few of the relevant scientific papers (and paper-backed articles) that help illustrate why it's too soon to send teachers and students back.