The Rochester Teachers Association is pushing back against plans for some Rochester City School District students to return to the classroom in a hybrid model.
Adam Urbanski, President of the Rochester Teachers Association said, “that plan cannot and will not keep our students safe or their educators.”
After reviewing the RCSD reopening plan, the Rochester Teachers Association Representative Assembly voted unanimously — calling for in-person instruction to be postponed until November 16, the end of the first quarter.
Rakia Hardaway, a teacher with the Rochester City School District said, “I know some people are saying oh teachers don’t want to work, they just want to be off and that’s not true, we are dying to get back to our students and to our classrooms, but we really want to be safe.”
As of now, Pre-K, K-sixth grade special classes and specialized K-12th grades will operate on a hybrid model, but fifth through 12th grades will have remote learning.
“If it’s too risky for the older kids, then it’s too risky for the younger kids, if it’s too risky for some teachers, it’s too risky for all teachers, COVID doesn’t discriminate, it infects everybody,” said Urbanski.
Teachers say there are still a lot of questions about the reopening plan, including how things will work for students and educators if there’s an outbreak.
“What happens if we have students who are not able to keep their masks on, or if a parent has to send their kid to school, but they have a fever, or they’ve been exposed to COVID, what is the plan there? At what point do we shut down school when someone has been exposed?” said Hardaway.
The teacher’s union says if the district moves forward with the hybrid plan for some students, it will take all measures to protect members and advocate for students.
“I know some people have said strike, that’s not off the table, but that’s not our gut reaction that we want to go with strike, we would like to talk this over and to make some sensible decisions before we had to 10, you know there are other options,” said Hardaway.
The teacher also had this to say to parents, “be patient, don’t loss hope, you know we really want to work together, this is not something — we don’t want to pitted against each other, we’re all in this together, so even though it may seem like we’re one way, we are all for the common good of the child,” said Rakia Hardaway.
The reopening plan is due to the state department of education on Friday, July 31, 2020. Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to make a decision on schools next week.