ROCHESTER, Minn. -As Rochester Public Schools prepares for the first day of school, the options are well-documented. They are in-person learning, distance-learning or a hybrid model. To get a better view of parents' feelings about those options, RPS launched a survey. The superintendent presented the findings.
More than 3900 people responded to a family survey. Of the parents surveyed - 44 percent felt most comfortable with in-person learning. Roughly 33 percent were most comfortable with distance learning.
"I would like to see in-person but I can definitely see arguments for the other ways too," Jason Reeve, a parent, said.
46 percent of parents surveyed are uncomfortable with distance learning.
"Being home the last semester was basically a disaster," Martha Schommer, a parent said. "The kids didn't learn hardly anything."
Many parents believe the benefits of opening schools outweigh the risks.
"Kids are social beings and they miss their friends, they were really struggling with being separated," Schommer said.
Some common themes the District took away from the survey are safety: helping children with proper mask-wearing, emphasizing hand sanitizer in classrooms and in buses and avoiding large-scale events.
"We went above and beyond most districts have done in order to create three different models," Superintendent Michael Muñoz said.
Muñoz is confident in a smooth start to the school year. Still, parents we spoke with believe "normal" is a long way off.
"The sooner the better I guess would be the easiest way to say it - for everything to get back to normal," Reeve said. "We'll see if it actually happens that way or not but fingers crossed."
The District hopes to release more information about the model Friday.
RPS also plans on having a COVID coordinator in every building in the District. Those people have not been assigned yet - but the District is looking at using administration in collaboration with nurses. RPS will be in direct contact with Olmsted County Public Health Services in the event a student or staff member tests positive.