We were thrilled to welcome back our students this week, and although the first few days went well, we did have some hiccups. Our elementary schools’ buses ran late our first day as we worked out parent pick-up, but by Thursday, we had alleviated the issue. We also experienced some seating issues at our secondary level on the first day, those have all been resolved as well. We expect issues as we get situated into our new normal, and we appreciate your patience as we work through them. We are always striving to make improvements for our students and community.
We are writing with updated information regarding the beginning of school, as a reminder, you can find all of this information on our website:
Daily Health Monitoring - COVID-19: Maintaining the health of our entire school population is a priority. Although we are no longer doing daily health attestations, is it imperative that every student and every staff member be evaluated or do a self-evaluation for illness every day prior to reporting to school/work. We run the significant risk of closing school(s) if our students and/or staff come to school when they are not healthy. If students or staff are sick, they should not come to school that day. An ill student or staff member. regardless of vaccination status, should only return to school/work when they are free from COVID-19-related symptoms; COVID-19 testing is also highly recommended when ill.
If a parent sends their child to school with COVID-19-related symptoms, an employee reports to work with COVID-19-related symptoms, or if your child or a staff member becomes ill during the school day, they must:
Be placed in isolation and a family member will need to pick them up (staff member sent home).
Remain in isolation for 10 days. This isolation may be shortened by the following:
Taking a PCR(lab) COVID-19 test and presenting a negative test result to the school nurse in order to return to school and/or
Presenting a doctor’s note to the school nurse with an alternative medical diagnosis (i.e. strep throat, which is a lab-tested diagnosis. “A cold” is not a diagnosis).
Unvaccinated staff member or student exposed to a positive case = Isolation for 10 days with day 1 being the day after exposure. (complete guide to exposure and contact tracing here).
Vaccinated staff member or student exposed to a positive case = wear a mask when around anyone at all times for 14 days and a lab COVID-19 test is recommended 3 to 5 days after exposure (complete guide to exposure and contact tracing here).
The Albany County Department of Health will assign the length of quarantine for any students or staff who are diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed in quarantine due to exposure to a positive case through contact tracing.
You can find more information about illness, isolation, contact tracing, and quarantine on our website here.
Masks: As per the New York State Department of Health masks must be worn by all students and staff while on buses and inside our school buildings. Mask breaks are provided throughout the day, including while eating and when outside. The type of mask that is worn by staff and students is important, including that they cover both the nose and mouth. The CDC also recommends that masks with exhaust valves not be used as they expel large amounts of water particulate and virus matter. Additionally, “Gaiters,” which are frequently made from sheer-stretchable materials, should be folded to create two layers. Here is additional information on proper masking.
Student Supplies: RCS intends to provide most, if not all, school supplies for our students. There may be some unique supplies that will need to be provided by parents but they will be an exception and not the rule. Some of our school supplies have already arrived and some have not. The pandemic and resultant shutdowns have placed almost all vendors behind in their production and shipping. Some students may have been given a supply list over the last few days as they visited their classrooms for the first time. We are asking parents to pause and not purchase anything on those lists until further notice. We want to take some time and get a better sense of where we are in our entire supply process before asking for assistance from families. If/when you do receive a list of needed supplies from the school it will have the signature of both the classroom teacher and principal. Instruction will continue in our classrooms while we await any remaining supplies.
MS/HS 10th Period: Starting Monday, September 13, the 10th period will begin for all middle and high school students, and the 2:40 PM buses will start running. The 5:00 PM athletic bus is currently running. Students who stay for 10th period will need to be with a teacher, they cannot be unsupervised or stay without a reason. If your student has athletics that they need to wait for but does not have a teacher they need to see, they can stay in the following locations:
Middle School = Cafeteria
High School Cafeteria = Football
High School Auxiliary Gym = Cross Country, Volleyball & Soccer
Chromebooks: Chromebook distribution is moving along as planned. All students have or will receive their Chromebooks during school hours. If your student has not yet received their Chromebook at the secondary level, they can pick it up in the counseling office. Elementary students will receive their Chromebook from their classroom teacher and these will primarily be used in classrooms during the first weeks/months of school.
School District Calendar: Here is a link to our 21-22 Wall Calendar which contains a lot of information about special events, recess/holidays, contact information, required notifications, free and reduced lunch forms, and more. The printed version of these wall calendars will be in our residents’ mailboxes next week.
It was so lovely to see all our students back this week and we can’t wait for the year ahead! Thank you to our families for their continued support and for making this reopening possible.
Brian Bailey, Ed.D., Superintendent of Schools