RCS transitions to remote learning to help mitigate coronavirus

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published March 13, 2020

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ROCHESTER — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ordered all public and private Michigan schools to close for three weeks starting March 16 in response to the coronavirus outbreak in Michigan.

The governor’s executive order, which was signed March 12, closed all K-12 school buildings to students until Sunday, April 5.

“This is about protecting the most people we can from the spread of coronavirus,” Whitmer said in a statement. “My administration will continue to do everything we can to mitigate the spread, and to ensure our children, families, and businesses have the support they need during this time. We are going to get through this, but we must be flexible and take care of each other.” 

Rochester Community Schools announced March 11 that it would close schools Thursday and Friday to train staff “if it becomes necessary to engage students in remote learning outside of the classroom.” 

The next day, RCS announced it will be closed “until further notice,” but would be “providing remote learning.” 

“The Board of Education and I did not make this decision lightly,” RCS Superintendent Robert Shaner said in an email March 12. “We considered information provided by our state and local health departments, and the facts associated with this evolving international situation. We will do all we can to keep kids safe.”

Shaner said teachers, administrators and support staff have received “extensive training and guidance.”

“Through interactive lesson delivery, unique activities, and the integration of the Google and Microsoft suite of applications, our team remains resolutely committed to ensuring that the outstanding educational experience continues within our district. Teachers will provide students and parents with instructions on how to proceed in the coming days,” Shaner said in the March 12 email.

District officials said they understand that the remote learning approach may result in hardship for some families who do not have computers or internet access at home or who require food services. 

“We recognize your needs and will be providing additional information shortly to ensure you get assistance,” Shaner said in the email.

Those with additional questions or concerns, are asked to use the “Talk to Us” feature on the district’s website at www.rochester.k12.mi.us.

Call Staff Writer Mary Beth Almond at (586) 498-1060.