Remote Learning will Start the School Year

A Message from Rochester Community Schools Superintendent Dr. Robert Shaner – Rochester Community Schools Temporarily Begins the 2020-21 School Year with Remote Learning

Shaner Headshot

Robert Shaner

Throughout the pandemic, science and data have continued to inform our decisions. We rely on the facts presented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Oakland County Health Division (OCHD), and our school nurse as we coordinate, plan, and prepare for returning students to school in the fall. We have been strategic in our processes, always keeping the safety and well-being of our students and staff at the forefront.

After great care and thoughtful consideration, we have determined that the best course of action is to utilize the remote learning component of our Return to School Roadmap for the start of the 2020-21 school year.

Families can Plan for the Following

  • In-person learning for the 2020-21 school year will temporarily begin in a remote-learning environment, starting on Tuesday, September 1. Our vision is to transition back to in-person learning as conditions allow. At this time, we anticipate being in the remote environment until October 1.
  • Students enrolled in the RCS Virtual Campus will continue their online learning as planned.
  • Please note that school will begin on Tuesday, September 1, for all students, which includes remote learning and the RCS Virtual Campus, to allow for staff planning. This date is a change from the original calendar.

We recognize that some families may feel the need to re-evaluate their child’s learning options given this new information. We are in this together, and we will do all we can to remain flexible, keeping the priority on our children. That said, we respectfully ask families to consider making any changes to their student’s placement by Friday, August 7, if at all possible. This will help us determine staffing needs as we coordinate more than 15,000 student and teacher schedules. If families have questions, we encourage them to please reach out to their school administrator for assistance.

Students who have applied to the RCS Virtual Campus and wish to request a change in placement should complete the form by August 7. If students did not sign up for the RCS Virtual Campus and wish to do so now, we ask them to email by August 7.

The complexities associated with developing a plan that enables Rochester Community School District students and staff members to safely return to school in the fall has been one of the most challenging undertakings that I’ve experienced in my 30 years of public service.

As we consider classroom instruction, our special needs populations, transportation, food services, and maintenance and custodial operations, the high degree of complexity and the costs associated with mitigating health risks during the pandemic are extensive. There are still many unanswered questions as we continue to seek clarity from the OCHD on screening, testing, tracing and reporting protocols; await guidance regarding pupil accounting; and anticipate funding allocations that would help us more accurately align expenditures with available resources. We are also waiting for further guidance from the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) and the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association (MSBOA), among other school organizations.

Through all of these challenges, I am proud to say that our teams have moved forward with great purpose and resolve to provide the best learning options for our students while mitigating health risks. We firmly believe that the thoughtful decision to delay in-person instruction is the right thing to do at this time to refine granular decisions and keep our school community safe.

On July 27, members of our Pandemic Task Force presented a plan at the Board of Education work session that included two learning options: in-person with a temporary remote learning component and the RCS Virtual Campus.

Parents should note that temporary remote learning in the fall will be more robust than the emergency measures put in place in March 2020.

Remote Learning Enhancements for the 2020-21 School Year

  • Google Classroom as a standardized learning platform
  • Increased contact time with classroom teachers
  • Increased contact time with special education staff
  • A more structured daily schedule
  • Secondary students will receive feedback and grades
  • Elementary students will receive timely, standards-based feedback
  • Students with Individualized Education Plans (IEP) will receive progress monitoring towards their IEP goals
  • Daily attendance will be taken
Elementary Remote Learning Schedule

Elementary Remote Learning Schedule


Secondary Remote Learning Schedule

Secondary Remote Learning Schedule


We continue to work with our families as partners in education. We understand that students may have special circumstances that require additional consideration. Families can reach out to their school administrator or use the Talk to Us feature on our website with any concerns. We are here to help.

Through these complex public health uncertainties, our commitment to education remains steadfast. At this time, the best way to provide continuity of learning for RCS students is to begin forming relationships through remote learning. When we are ready to transition safely to in-person instruction, our students and teachers will have already built a solid foundation.

About Robert Shaner, Ph.D.

Superintendent of Rochester Community Schools

Speak Your Mind