Letter to Families & Staff; 12-17-2021

Dear Families,

This letter contains important information from our district about: 

  • COVID-19 Protocol Reminders

  • Upcoming Communications Survey

  • Recent District Celebrations & Stories 

  • School Building & District Office Holiday Hours

  • Upcoming Important Dates

  • Diagnostic (Symptomatic) COVID-19 Testing Has Begun

  • Instructions for all COVID-19 Testing through RCS

  • Local COVID-19 Vaccination & Testing Sites

  • RCS Connects App

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

COVID-19 Protocol Reminders: This week we finished contact tracing our 105th positive case within the district, please remember that if a student or staff member is sick, they should not come to school/work that day. 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 and testing out of quarantine. We created the COVID-19 Illness, Isolation, and Quarantine Guidance Charts to help families understand this guidance. You can access the NYS Department of Health guide to exposure and contact tracing here

Upcoming Communications Survey: Next week we will be launching a Communications Survey for parents, students, staff, and community members to gain a better understanding of what communication methods and practices are preferred and used by the community. This survey will be sent out early next week and will be open until Friday, January 14. Everyone in the RCS community is encouraged to participate! 

District Celebrations & Stories: We highlight different items that are happening around our community on our website and Facebook page. Here are some of the recent stories we have shared:

School Building & District Office Holiday Hours: Over the Holiday Recess, the District Office and all school buildings will be closed the following days in observation of the holidays:

  • Friday, December 24, Monday, December 27, and Friday, December 31. 

Upcoming Important Dates

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

  • December 23: No 10th period or late buses for MS/HS.

  • December 24 - December 31: Holiday Recess - No School. Please note that no COVID-19 testing will be offered at RCS over the break.

  • 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).

  • Thursday, February 3: Staff Development Day, Early Dismissal PK-12.

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 Form. Some families may have already completed this Consent Form 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 are 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 Form 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 are 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.

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 across New York State. Visit the NY Find a Test Site Near You page to find a complete list of testing sites available. To find a vaccination clinic for you or your child, 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. Visit www.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov to make an appointment at a state-run vaccination site. 

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.

Next week’s communication to families and staff will not be a letter, it will be the RCS Communications Survey.  We hope that you all have a wonderful holiday recess and get to recharge and refresh for the new year. 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