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RCSD to require staff to be vaccinated, or undergo weekly testing for COVID-19


The Rochester City School District will require staff to have COVID-19 vaccinations, or take part in weekly testing for the virus.

RCSD schools are back in session on Sept. 8 with in-person learning five days-a-week.

President of the Rochester Teachers Association, Adam Urbanski, said the plan outlined by the district on Wednesday is “a reasonable balancing of individual rights with public responsibility.”

Urbanski notes that about 85% of his membership is currently vaccinated, and the membership seems to be in favor of the compromise outlined by the administration this week.

“Requiring testing for those who cannot be vaccinated is a reasonable precaution and I think that the district and the RTA can come to an agreement on that,” Urbanski said.

Dan DiClemente, president of BENTE, which represents non-teaching employees, also feels the direction being taken by the district is a good compromise, since courts have consistently ruled employers have a right to established these kinds of rules regarding vaccinations.

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Chris Miller, chief of human capital for the RCSD, said the safety of students, staff and the school community is one of the district’s highest priorities as they get ready for the start of the school year.

“We wanted to work with our union partners and leadership and to do what makes the most sense for our staff and our students. We believe that encouraging this weekly testing will ensure that level of assurance and increase the positive rates of vaccination,” Miller said.

Vaccinated RCSD staff who voluntarily present confirmation of their vaccination status by Sept. 3 will not be required to participate in the weekly COVID testing.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.