Dear Colleagues,

At a Special Meeting earlier today, the RTA Representative Assembly voted unanimously to adopt the following resolution calling on the Rochester City School District to postpone any at-school and in-person instruction at least until the end of the first quarter of the 2020-2021 school year:

RTA Resolution on Keeping Our Students Safe

(Approved Unanimously by the RTA Representative Assembly on July 20, 2020) 

WHEREAS, the health and safety of our students and their educators are paramount to us during the current COVID-19 pandemic, literally a matter of life and death, and

WHEREAS, parents and educators have serious and legitimate concerns about reopening for in-school instruction this September, and

WHEREAS, we cannot allow our schools to become centers for spreading COVID-19 infection to our families and communities, and

WHEREAS, a second outbreak of COVID-19 is widely expected this Fall, complicated by the flu season, and

WHEREAS, our school district’s plans for reopening with in-school instruction, without the needed additional resources, cannot possibly ensure safety for our students and their educators, be it therefore

RESOLVED, that we call on our school district to continue remote teaching and learning and postpone at school and in-person instruction, initially until the end of the first quarter of the 2020-2021 school year (November 16, 2020) and then to be reviewed moving forward, and be it further

RESOLVED, that remote instruction be fortified with improved access to technology, virtual office hours, project-based learning, guided independent study and other research-based and proven strategies, and be it finally 

RESOLVED, that at school and in-person learning resume only when, according to medical science, it is safe to do so without jeopardizing the safety, health and lives of our students, their families and their educators.

This evening, the Superintendent of Schools is presenting to the Board of Education her recommended plan for reopening our schools. While the details of the hybrid plan have not yet been fully clarified for us, it calls for some at-school and in-person instruction along with remote teaching and learning. For a whole host of reasons, including those referenced in our resolution, we believe that the District’s proposed plan represents serious health and safety risks for our students, for their families and for their educators. 

We are urging the Board of Education to not approve the District’s proposed plan, to continue with fortified remote teaching and learning for at least the first 10 weeks of the 2020-2021school year, and to resume at-school and in-person instruction only when it is safe to do so. Additionally, we have reserved the right to negotiate the impact of the District’s plan on your terms and conditions of work in the event that the District ignores the collective wisdom of parents and teachers and proceed to implement the hybrid plan.

We view our proposal as advocacy for our students and their educators. We will keep you informed about any developments and about the progress of our efforts.

Adam Urbanski, RTA President