Dear Families, 

We are incredibly excited to welcome back all of our students tomorrow, Wednesday, September 8 for the first day of school. You can find the most up-to-date information on the reopening of schools on our website here including, but not limited to, bus routes, scheduling information, and reopening updates. 

As a reminder for our first day of school tomorrow, middle and high schoolers will be allowed into their buildings starting at 7:30 AM and the elementary schools will be open at 8:55 AM for drop-off to begin.   

Last week we released our continual draft of the RCS Tiered Mitigation Reopening Plan. We also released the RCS 2021-2022 School Year Procedure and Protocol Document last week. Families can use both of these documents to easily review our reopening plans for the 2021-2022 school year. We will continue to provide families with updates as the school year progresses, please be sure to check the RCS website frequently. 

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.

Late last week school districts received new guidance from the New York State Department of Health. Below is a summary of the necessary precautions for students.  Do not, under any circumstances, send your child to school if they are displaying COVID-19 symptoms. Here is additional guidance that is similar to last year:

  • Student COVID-19 Testing Requirement:  All NYS schools must offer screening testing for unvaccinated students on a weekly basis in geographic areas identified by the CDC as having moderate, substantial, or high transmission rates. Parent or guardian consent for minors will be required. The current testing models are not invasive, they are a simple cheek swab and will be free for any student. Students who are vaccinated can opt-out if proof of vaccination is provided to the district. 

  • Student Illness: Any student who has any symptom of COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status, must stay home and the parent must consult with their school nurse. We will not be using health attestation at this time, but encourage families to call their student’s nurse if they have any questions or are unsure of how to proceed. Students who display COVID-19-related symptoms may return to school after a 10-day isolation period or after receiving and sharing with RCS a negative COVID-19 PCR test result. Students who are sick will complete their work as they would in any normal year if they were absent while sick. The teacher can collect work for the child to complete upon their return and/or the teacher will place work in a Google Classroom and/or the teacher will allow the student to listen/see the class through a Google Meet, depending on the needs of the child. 

  •  Student Positive Exposure/Quarantine:  Any student who is placed in quarantine due to exposure or illness will have meaningful contact with a certified teacher every day while placed in quarantine.  Depending on the grade level, students will be required to participate in daily lessons both synchronous and asynchronous. 

It is important to know that the Albany County Department of Health will play an integral role in assisting RCS in being able to accomplish some of these new directives that have been set forth. Testing will not begin at RCS until this has occurred and we will notify you prior to the start of student testing. We can’t wait to see all of our students tomorrow - we wish you a safe, enjoyable, and healthy school year!

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