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Rochester schools ‘very carefully’ making contingency plans for coronavirus


The Rochester City School District is making plans to deal with the coronavirus if it spreads to our region. 

Spokesperson Carlos Garcia said the district is following the lead of the Monroe County Health Department and the Centers for Disease Control. The district is also making plans internally.

“We have in place a task force that has been meeting on a weekly basis, and actually this week, we started meeting twice a week,” said Garcia. “We are taking our lead from the Monroe County Health Department and if Dr. (Mike) Mendoza says we have to do something, then we must do that.”

That task force is planning the possibility of a person who has the virus in a school. If that happens, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has ordered public schools to close for 24 hours for cleaning and assessment. Garcia said they’re making contingency plans to handle this and other issues if they arise.

But he said those plans will be carried out “carefully” because the district “has many moving parts” like its three largest unions and tens of thousands of parents and caregivers for students. 

He said keeping them up to date with the latest information is key, and that process has already begun. Students were sent home with flyers with information on how to not spread the virus

Garcia said “the sky isn’t falling,” but the community will hear directly from Superintendent Terry Dade if things get worse.

WXXI News asked six other large districts in greater Rochester about their plans and they declined to be interviewed about their approach to the virus.

James Brown is a reporter with WXXI News. James previously spent a decade in marketing communications, while freelance writing for CITY Newspaper. While at CITY, his reporting focused primarily on arts and entertainment.