Finally, a fundraiser that can be done from the comfort of home, takes only seconds a day, and can earn a parent-teacher group from your favorite Rochester City School District (RCSD) school up to $15,000.

Launching Oct. 7, the COVID Community Challenge rewards RCSD parent-teacher groups for recruiting adults to participate daily in ROC COVID, an online health screening tool for COVID-19 symptoms. ROC COVID participants simply answer yes or no to a daily reminder asking if they are experiencing new or unusual symptoms associated with COVID-19.

Registered parent-teacher groups will earn $500 when at least 150 new ROC COVID participants join their team by Nov. 18, 2020.

Parent-teacher groups that reach the 150-member threshold will then compete for the most daily health screenings by Jan. 31, 2021. Prizes in this round are $15,000, $10,000 and $5,000 for first, second and third place.

Adults 18 and older can join the Challenge by selecting one of 60 schools when they sign up for ROC COVID. Existing ROC COVID participants can choose to support a Parent-Teacher group as well. Their daily health screenings will count toward the grand prize round.

Administered by the University of Rochester, the COVID Community Challenge is made possible through grants from private foundations. Participation in the challenge contributes to a region-wide effort to control the spread of COVID-19.

“The daily health screening provides information that can help our community return to in-class learning. Increasing participation in the ROC COVID tool and supporting our parent-teacher groups is a win-win,” explained Michael Hasselberg, M.S., Ph.D., co-director of the University of Rochester Health Lab. The challenge aims to increase ROC COVID participation in neighborhoods served by the Rochester City School District, generating the data needed to identify symptom hot spots at a ZIP code level.

So far, symptoms have remained low. But if spikes are seen, officials will direct resources such as testing to those neighborhoods.

“If the world gives you lemons, make lemonade,” said Lesli Myers-Small, Ed.D., superintendent of the Rochester City School District. “The pandemic is a one-in-a-century lemon, but this innovative competition gives us a creative way to fight the virus and at the same time, direct support to RCSD parent-teacher groups facing unprecedented challenges.”

Only parent-teacher groups based at K-12 schools in the Rochester City School District are eligible. Parent-teacher groups must apply and be approved to take part in the challenge. Charter schools, private schools and public schools outside of Rochester are not eligible. For more on the challenge and to sign up, go to