Letter to Families about Returning to School

Dear RCS Families,             

Important information about our return to in-person learning at RCS

We are all eager to prepare for the upcoming school year.  All New York State schools have been waiting for directives from the Department of Health (NYSDOH) and the State Education Department (NYSED) in order to ensure that our reopening plans meet their rigorous expectations. As of today, they have issued no directives. I am writing to inform you of what we anticipate for the upcoming school year absent of these directives. 

RCS, in collaboration with our 23 partnering Capital Region BOCES School Districts, has been working to create a reopening plan that can adapt to the changing COVID-19 infection rates within our schools and region (tiered mitigation). We have been using the updated recommendations that have already been issued by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the State Education Department (NYSED).  Without exception, the number one priority will continue to be student and staff safety. 

RCS Reopening Priorities: RCS will be focused on the following priorities as we develop our reopening plans:

  • All students will return to in-person instruction on Wednesday, September 8, 2021

  • All grade levels will return to their traditional buildings (EL = PK-5, MS = 6-8, HS = 9-12)

  • School transportation will return to normal capacities and schedules

  • School building hours will return to their 2019-20 normal (EL 9 am - 3:30 pm M-Th and 3 pm on Friday;  MS/HS 7:30 am - 2:40 pm, and 2 pm on Friday)

The factors that have the greatest potential of interfering with the above priorities would be directives issued by a state or local government entity and/or increased COVID-19 positivity rates in our district or region. RCS families need to plan for the fall of 2021 in the hopes that all of the above priorities will be met.  

Masks and Social Distancing:  The question of mask-wearing upon our return to school has been and will continue to be an evolving topic of discussion. The CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics have issued guidance in the last few weeks that highly recommends universal masking in a school setting. RCS will be making a decision about the use of masks as a tool to protect our students and staff by Monday, August 16, 2021.  

Remote Learning:  There are currently no requirements to offer remote options for students.  However, if you believe your child will need to take advantage of the fully-remote option for school in September due to a documented medical reason, please read this letter for information on the “Virtual Academy” for medically fragile students.

School Supplies:  Regardless of other factors, most school supplies for the 2021-2022 school year will be provided to all students by the district and will be distributed by their teachers. More information on the subject can be found on our website here

Although we are unsure if everything will be back to “normal” for our return, we are working toward that goal. In the coming days and weeks, principals will be sending information that is specific to your child’s individual building, including schedules and teacher assignments. We are eager to welcome back all students to the district in September. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 situation to keep our students, staff, families, and communities safe. We will be reaching out to you again soon,


Brian Bailey, Ed.D., Superintendent of Schools