Letter to Families  & Staff;  12-10-2021

Dear Families, 

This letter contains important information from our district about: 

  • Diagnostic (Symptomatic) COVID-19 Testing Has Begun

  • Instructions for all COVID-19 Testing through RCS

  • Test Out of Quarantine Option for Students & Staff

  • Local COVID-19 Vaccination & Testing Sites

  • Fall 2021 Sports Season Wrap-Up & Highlights

  • RCS Connects App

  • Upcoming Important Dates

  • Who to Contact and When Guide

  • COVID-19 Protocol Reminders

All the information in this letter, from past letters and more, can be found on our website

Diagnostic (Symptomatic) COVID-19 Testing Has Begun: As we have already shared with our community, students and staff who display COVID-related symptoms, regardless of vaccination status, as per the Department of Health are required to:

  • Isolate (stay out of school) for 10 days or 

  • receive a negative result on a COVID-19 Lab test and become healthy or 

  • provide an alternative diagnosis from their physician in order to return to school. 

RCS has begun offering free diagnostic testing for students and staff who are sent home, or kept at home, due to COVID-19 related symptoms. One important component of this process is that students and staff that would like to be tested when symptomatic must register here and families must also complete an RCS Student Testing Consent Letter.  Some families may have already completed this Consent Letter and returned it to school in October/November. This is a voluntary registration and your children are not required to be tested at school. Testing at school is just one easy way for symptomatic students and staff to return to school sooner than 10 days. Students/staff that are eligible for this symptomatic testing should contact their school nurse to be tested. 

All students and staff can participate in this simple oral swab symptomatic testing, regardless of their vaccination status, and can opt-in or opt-out of testing at any time. The company that makes the test has provided information about the saliva-based test here and a FAQ here. After testing, results will be sent to both families and the school within 24-36 hours. In addition to the results being emailed directly to the family or staff member, any student or staff member who tests positive will be notified through a phone call from the school.

Instructions for registering for COVID-19 testing through RCS:   Parents/guardians who are interested in their child participating in diagnostic testing, or staff who is interested in participating in testing, must register on the Quadrant website and create a profile for each individual that will be tested. This can be done here: https://app.clarifi-covid-19.com/. This must be done in advance of the testing as you will not be able to register at the testing site. Here is a video on how to register online (scroll down to view video). Families must also have a completed RCS Student Testing Consent Letter on file with the school in order to be tested. Tips for registration and for before testing:

  • Registration requires the participant’s full legal name.

  • For students, please list the employment status in step 5 as unknown. 

  • There is no out-of-pocket cost to participate in the program, regardless of health insurance status.

  • When registering with Quadrant Biosciences, it will ask for insurance, if you do not have insurance you can skip this step. If you have insurance, please enter your information for this step. 

  • Albany County Department of Health has confirmed you will not be charged copays or deductibles for this testing.

  • The request for a social security number and driver’s license number can be skipped.

  • Please note that the registration will frequently say “child” or “my child.” If staff is completing the form for themselves, as an adult, answer the questions as though you are answering them for yourself.   

  • Individuals being tested should NOT eat or drink anything (with the exception of water), including chewing gum, mints or lozenges, tobacco, or smokeless tobacco products, within 30 minutes of their testing time. 

  • Mouthwash and toothpaste should NOT be used within an hour of the testing time.

Test Out of Quarantine Option for Students & Staff: The RCS School District is participating in the “test out of quarantine” program that was recently approved by the Albany County Department of Health. This program will allow students and staff to start testing out of quarantine beginning no earlier than the 6th day after exposure. Quarantine can end after day 7 (returning to regular school activities on day 8) if a test taken on day 6 or 7 is negative and if no symptoms were reported during daily monitoring while in quarantine. Anyone is eligible to be tested through a local health provider to satisfy this requirement (no home tests can be accepted at this time) and RCS hopes to begin offering this testing on-site in the near future. 

You can access the entire process for Testing Out of Quarantine on our COVID-19 Illness, Isolation and Quarantine Guidance webpage here

Local COVID-19 Vaccination & Testing Sites: If anyone in the community is looking to be tested for COVID-19, there are many testing sites open around New York State. Visit the NY Find a Test Site Near You page to find a complete list of testing sites available. If you are looking to get vaccinated you can visit the CDC’s Vaccines.gov website to find the closest vaccination sites for all forms of the vaccine that are currently available. You can also visit www.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov to make an appointment at a state-run vaccination site. 

Fall 2021 Sports Season Wrap-Up & Highlights: Our student-athletes, coaches, parents and fans had a wonderful Fall 2021 Sports season with over 200 athletes participating. They displayed incredible sportsmanship and hard work throughout the season. We are very proud of them and to have them represent RCS! You can find a wrap-up with some highlights from the season here

RCS Connects App: As we work our way through 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.

Upcoming Important Dates

  • December 17: End of the second quarter five-week interim period (MS/HS).

  • December 24 - December 31: Holiday Recess - No School.

  • Monday, January 3: Classes resume for all students. 

  • Monday, January 17: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day - No School. 

  • Tue., January 25 - Fri., January 28: Midterms & January Regents Exams for HS

  • Friday, January 28: End of 2nd Marking Period (MS/HS)

Who to Contact and When Guide: This year we launched a Who to Contact and When Guide for RCS families, located in the school calendar and on our website. This document was created to help ensure that questions and concerns from our community are addressed in the most efficient and effective manner possible. It outlines who you should contact first for information in a particular area, as well as the next step if your concern is not addressed. Staff contact information can be found on the second page. 

COVID-19 Protocol Reminders: You can find the most up-to-date COVID-19 protocols for RCS on our website here, including information about student work when in quarantine. We 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 NYS Department of Health guide to exposure and contact tracing here

Thank you for your continued support for our students, faculty, and staff as we navigate the 2021-2022 school year together. If you have any questions about anything covered in the letter, please reach out to your student’s building for clarification. Stay warm and have a great weekend,

Brian Bailey, Ed.D. 

Superintendent of Schools