Letter to Families & Staff about Returning to School; 08-16-2021

Important information about our return to in-person learning at RCS; 08-16-2021

Dear Families,     

We have been monitoring the reopening guidance as it has continued to evolve over the last few weeks. We shared a letter with families on August 6 that detailed our priorities going into the 2021-2022 school year. Our top priority is to safely return all students to in-person instruction on September 8. 

Our other priorities include:  

  • 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)

We are still waiting on recommendations from the New York State and Albany County Departments of Health. Also, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul will be taking office as the new New York State Governor next Tuesday, August 24, 2021. We expect State issued guidance will be shared with schools following her inauguration.

Our Board of Education and RCS reopening committees will be meeting to discuss the many logistics surrounding all students returning to school on September 8. We have not yet solidified our action plans around our reopening and will not be sharing any plans today. With so many unknowns and the expectation that we will be receiving more guidance, we do not want to misinform or mislead our community. We will offer weekly updates (at minimum) as these plans unfold.

As we consider a safe return to school, guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), American Association of Pediatrics (AAP), and New York State Education Department (NYSED) will serve as our guide. This information, combined with what we receive from the NYSDOH and our new governor, will be adapted to meet the needs of our RCS students and staff. The resultant layered mitigation strategies will be adjusted as the infection and transmission rates of COVID-19 in our district and region continue to fluctuate. 

As we head towards the 2021-22 school year, RCS will continue to utilize the district website and RCS Connects mobile app to communicate directly with our school community. If you haven’t done so already, please take a moment to sign-up for RCS Connects. A video tutorial on the use of the app and where it can be downloaded for free can be found on our website. Installing the app is easy and will provide users with the best way to receive news and updates from RCS.

Here is a Q&A document that we have been developing as families prepare for the reopening of school. This document will continue to be updated as new questions from students, staff and families arrive. We are excited for the opportunity to see everyone back at RCS.  


Brian Bailey, Ed.D., Superintendent of Schools