Colleagues,

Last Friday our Governor indicated that, pending approval of their plans by the NYS Department of Health, school districts can, not must, reopen for in-person instruction. He also said that parents and teachers must be comfortable enough to support the plan. Districts are also now required to clearly post their remote learning plans as well as plans for COVID-19 testing and contact tracing. Additionally, districts must hold, by August 21st, at least three meetings for parents (at least five in urban districts, including ours) and a meeting with teachers and other staff.

We remain determined to persuade our district to fortify remote learning and to postpone any at-school and in-person instruction for at least the first quarter of the 2020-2021 school year. In fact, we have been in contact with other teacher unions in Monroe County and with teacher unions in some other urban districts in our state. I am confident that many of our sister unions will also strongly advocate for a position similar to ours. 

Some of you have followed through on our recommendation and emailed our superintendent to express your concerns and to urge her to continue with remote teaching until it’s safe to return to in-person learning. Thank you!  These letters were eloquent, persuasive and heartfelt. If you haven’t already done so, I urge you to email Superintendent Lesli Myers-Small <Lesli.Myers-Small@rcsdk12.org> because it’s still not too late for our district to listen to the collective wisdom of parents and teachers and to do the right thing for our students and their educators.

There’s nothing sacred about September. There’s everything sacred about the health and the lives of our students and their educators – and, by extension, of our families and our communities. We must remain united and we must continue to insist that keeping everyone safe is what matters most.

Adam Urbanski, RTA President

P.S.: We have received many inquiries about what accommodations can be made for teachers with underlying health conditions, for teachers with family members more vulnerable to serious complications with COVID-19, and for COVID-related Leaves of Absence options. We are currently negotiating these and related matters and will soon provide details. Meanwhile please find attached a summary chart on Leaves of Absence and please continue to contact us with specific questions. 

Leaves of Absence Information– as of August 7, 2020