Parents react to Rochester Public Schools "Planning and Wellbeing Days"

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(ABC 6 News) – Teachers across the nation and here at home say this pandemic has been the hardest two years of their career. Rochester Public School officials are giving students four extra Wednesdays off this school year. These days are called Planning and Wellbeing days The time is for teachers and staff to redesign curriculum and make strategies to help students catch up on learning and social skills.

"We would dedicate the day to planning to meet student needs and staff well-being," Interim Superintendent Kent Pekel said in the last Rochester Public School Board meeting.

The days are Dec. 8, Feb. 9, April 20 and May 11th.

Pekel released a statement Monday morning addressing working parents. The district will offer it’s school-age child care program for families who participate in that program, and it’s reaching out to youth-serving organizations in the community. The district is encouraging them to expand programming on those days. However, Pekel received emails from concerned parents – arguing that they don’t have access or money for child care. Many parents don’t have enough paid time off from work to watch their kids on those days.

Other members in the district are also concerned about whether or not these four days will take away from the district’s allotted snow days. Pekel says they will have plenty extra room for bad weather.

"We’ve made sure that if we did this we’d be above the minimum required instructional days that the state requires, with some allotment for potential snow days because we still live in Minnesota," he said in that meeting.

One RPS parent in an email to the board said the large amount of student quarantines from exposure have already put a strain on parents and their employers.

Other parents, however, are not worried about the extra days, and are excited to see how this helps teachers.

"This is really hard on them. And I know it’s really hard on everyone else but they’re kind of getting just thrown to the wolves this year," said Anna Katusky, a parent at Rochester Public Schools.

ABC 6 News reached out to the district for an interview, but they declined.