Letter to Families & Staff; 10-15-2021

Dear Families,        

We are halfway through October and students have settled back into the important work of learning. We will continue to offer updates to families with important information from the district. All the information in this letter, from past letters and more, can be found on our website

This letter contains important information from our district about: COVID-19 Protocol Updates & Reminders, Sheriff’s Office Drill, High School In-Person Update, Student Work When in Quarantine, RCS COVID-19 Testing Consent Form, Social Media & Appropriate Student Behavior Letter, Winter Sports, and Mask Procedure Reminders.

COVID-19 Protocol Updates & Reminders: We sent an update to families earlier this week regarding updates to the COVID-19 protocol for RCS, that information can be found here. The biggest change being: When a student or staff member is ill with COVID-19 related symptoms, regardless of vaccination status, there are three choices to return to school/work:

  • A negative COVID-19 lab test result (PCR or NAAT - not a "rapid" test) or

  • Alternative diagnosis from a physician or

  • Completion of a 10-day isolation (students only)

We have created the COVID-19 Illness, Isolation, and Quarantine Guidance Charts to help families understand this guidance. Please remember that if a student or staff member is sick, they should not come to school/work that day. You can access the New York State Department of Health guide to exposure and contact tracing here

Sheriff’s Office Drill: On Friday, October 15, a class of new officers from the Albany County Sheriff’s Office will be conducting on-site drills at our middle school. This is part of their training program and will not begin until after student dismissal.

High School In-Person Update: At the time of this letter being sent out on Friday afternoon, we anticipate the high school returning to in-person instruction for all students on Monday, October 18th. 

Student Work When in Quarantine:  If a student is out of school because they are in isolation awaiting quarantine, or have been placed in quarantine by the Department of Health, they will be provided with work by their teacher(s). This may include, but is not limited to: digitized work through Google Classroom, meeting during office hours, or completing alternate assignments. If work has not been provided, please contact your student’s teacher(s) directly. 

RCS COVID-19 Testing Consent Form: Last week we sent home via email a COVID-19 Testing Consent Form that will allow us to test your student for COVID-19 at school for screening and/or diagnostics purposes. You can find more information here. That form was also sent home via backpack mail. If students are vaccinated, they will still be able to participate in any of the offered testing, parents will still need to complete a consent form for their student to be tested. Families can opt in or opt out of the testing at a later date. The company that makes the test has provided information about the saliva-based test for parents here and a FAQ here. If you are not able to locate the form and are unable to print it from our website, please contact your child’s main office for another copy. Please submit this consent form by Friday, October 22, 2021.

Important Letter to Families Regarding Social Media & Appropriate Student Behavior: Earlier this week we sent home a letter to families asking them to speak with their students about appropriate behavior and social media use in regards to school. We want to reiterate that the RCS School District will not tolerate any destructive, dangerous, and damaging actions to property, students, staff, or any combination. Our top priority is keeping our staff and students safe. These types of behaviors will be addressed through our Code of Conduct. You can find a copy of this week’s letter here

Winter Sports: We sent home some information regarding winter sports registration last week to qualifying grades via email, you can find that information on our website here. Winter sports registration is now open for JV and Varsity teams, registration opens next Friday, October 22 for modified teams. 

Mask Procedures Reminders:  The wearing of masks in schools is required by the New York State Department of Health. The main office in each building has appropriate masks available for students, staff members, or visitors who do not have a mask upon arrival to school, break/dirty their mask, or have a mask that is not appropriate for school. Here is an excellent article from Johns Hopkins Medicine on the proper procedure for wearing a mask. 

The RCS School District greatly appreciates the support of the entire community. If you have any questions about anything covered in the letter, please reach out to your student’s building for clarification. Thank you and have a great weekend, 

Brian Bailey, Ed.D. 

Superintendent of Schools