Letter to Families & Staff about Returning to School; 08-23-2021

Dear Families, 

We have been continuing to monitor the school reopening guidance as it has evolved over the course of the summer. The information that we shared with families on August 6 and 16 detailed our priorities going into the 2021-2022 school year. There are still some unknowns, but we believe that this school year will look more “normal” as we return to in-person instruction. One large remaining unknown, mask requirements, may be answered with the swearing-in of our new governor tomorrow. 

In the meantime, we have been strategizing how we will provide quality instruction while keeping our students and staff safe. The updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control has identified that social distancing at 3 feet will be acceptable in most situations. This will be helpful as we set up our classrooms. Day-to-day logistics such as arrival, dismissal, lunches, travel between classes, and the use/sharing of materials are being examined so that our schools may operate smoothly while maintaining a sense of community and normalcy. We are very excited for the return of our students on September 8. More logistics of our day-to-day operations will be shared with families soon. Here is some additional timely information - as a reminder, all of this information and more may be found on our website:

Middle School/High School Student Orientation: On Tuesday, September 7 from 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM, orientation will be held at both the middle school for grades 6-7 and the high school for grades 9-10. We purposely targeted students in these grades as they have not had an opportunity for a “normal” year in their respective buildings. Transportation will be provided. All families will be receiving a transportation bus-route card in the mail prior to the start of school. Students in grades 6-7 and 9-10 should add 2.5 hours to the estimated bus pick-up time that is on their transportation card for orientation day on September 7 (school usually starts at 7:30 for them, but the orientation will start at 10 am). A direct communication will be sent to these families. If you have any additional questions, please contact your school's main office. 

PreK and Kindergarten Slow Start:  Both elementary schools will be hosting Slow Start Days at the beginning of the year for PK and K. These days will be an opportunity for the students and their guardians to meet their teacher for the first time, get acquainted with their classroom, discuss policy and procedures and ask questions. The Slow Start dates for the 21-22 school year are Wednesday, September 8, 2021, and Thursday, September 9, 2021.  Communications have been sent to families about these dates.

Free Breakfast & Lunch: The RCS School District has secured a grant that will allow us to provide free breakfast and lunch for all students during the 2021- 2022 school year, regardless of family income or school building. However, it is imperative that families who are eligible for free or reduced lunch still fill out the free and reduced lunch application for the 2021-2022 school year. The application will be mailed to families in the 2021-2022 RCS calendar. Filling out this form will allow families to access many additional services and support networks they otherwise might not be able to. It will also give our school district and local municipalities valuable information about needed resources. You can also find the forms and more information on our food service website here

ImmunizationsAs a reminder, students that attend any public school in New York State must have had their required immunizations. Please be sure to schedule these immunizations in a timely manner as NYS requires school districts to keep children home who have not completed these immunizations within 14 days of the first day of school.  More information about immunizations may be found here

Here is a school reopening Q&A document that we have been continuing to develop as we prepare for school. This document will be updated as new questions from students, staff and families arrive. 

We are excited for the opportunity to see all of our students safely back in school. 

Sincerely - Brian Bailey, Ed.D., Superintendent of Schools