Colleagues,

With the Omicron variant raging ((Monroe County reporting over 4,000 new COVID cases today) and the Rochester City School District woefully unprepared and plagued by transportation problems and spiking absences of students and staff, the Superintendent finally announced that the District will revert to remote learning for at least the next three school days. You should know that this was neither negotiated with us nor with any input from teachers or their union. Our proposal was, and remains, that remote learning should last as long as the surge does and that teachers should have the option to teach remotely from their homes.

Thus far, the District has not agreed. With virtually no advance notice, they are requiring teachers to report to school for remote teaching. While this is a matter of management prerogative, it neither makes sense nor is it necessary. Teachers can teach remotely just as effectively, if not more, from home. Teachers, too, have concerns about their own safety and the safety of their families. Teachers, too, have childcare issues and family health concerns. But in our last conversation this evening, Superintendent Myers-Small indicated that, if the remote learning continues beyond next Monday, the District may reassess the requirement that teachers must report to schools to teach remotely.

We will continue to advocate that remote learning continue until the Omicron surge subsides and that teachers be able to teach remotely from home. We will keep you informed about any progress of our continuing efforts on your behalf.

Adam Urbanski, RTA President