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RCSD Supt. hopeful district can avoid having to start with remote learning


Rochester City School District Superintendent Lesli Myers-Small says the district continues to work with state and local officials in an effort to have school start on time next week, and hopefully not have to start with remote learning.

On Friday, Myers-Small talked about the possibility of starting the school year with remote learning for students in grades 9 – 12 because of a lack of bus drivers. That is a nationwide problem, and on Friday, Myers-Small said the district was short by 78 drivers.

The possibility of remote learning for some grades brought an emotional response from several speakers at Friday’s board meeting, including students, parents and staffers who said remote learning will make things very difficult for students trying to learn.

Meeting with reporters Saturday afternoon at the district’s transportation center on Hudson Avenue, Myers-Small emphasized that the goal is to try and have all students come back in-person, 5 days a week.

She said since the district outlined the dire situation on Friday, she has heard from a number of people including representatives of the NY State Education Department, the governor’s office and local elected officials offering support.

Myers-Small said there are also discussions with RTS, which already has a contract to provide some bus transportation for city students, to see if they can pick up additional routes.

And Myers-Small is hopeful that overall, the district will be able to find more qualified bus drivers.

School in the RCSD was scheduled to start January 8, but that date seemed somewhat in flux after Friday’s board meeting.

Myers-Small hopes to get a firm answer for parents and caregivers on Sunday about the start of school.

There will be an emergency work session of the school board Sunday, at 6:30 p.m. to talk about the transportation situation.

There will not be opportunity for public comment at the meeting, but the meeting will be livestreamed via the RCSD’s Facebook and YouTube pages, and on the District’s website at:

On Sunday, a statement released from RTS said that the board that governs the Rochester Genesee Regional Transit Authority (RGRTA)  will hold a special meeting on Tuesday at Noon to “consider temporary changes to the RTS transit system” to help the city school district overcome its bus driver shortage.

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.