Updates to RCS COVID-19 Protocols; 01-20-2022

Dear RCS Families,

As you most likely are aware, health and safety guidance from the state and local health departments related to COVID-19 continues to evolve. As always, we remain committed to keeping our students in school, while providing a safe learning environment for all. This will be our weekly letter to families and staff. 

Effective immediately, the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Central School District will use the following protocols when allowing students to return to school if they have symptoms of COVID-19, test positive for COVID-19 or are considered exposed to an individual with COVID-19. These protocols are based on the most recent updates from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the New York State Department of Health, and local health departments. 

Please know that this information is subject to change at any time. If you have specific health concerns or questions regarding your child, please contact your student’s nurse or Principal.  

Two of the biggest changes:

  1. The New York State Department of Health will no longer conduct contact tracing. This means that individuals potentially exposed to COVID-19 will no longer be contacted by their local department of health. 

  2. RCS and other schools are no longer required to collect and submit information about COVID-19 close contacts to county health departments. RCS will only conduct contact tracing in a limited and targeted capacity, such as, but not limited to, exposures during unmasked periods (lunch/breakfast), certain high-risk sports, or where there are reduced mitigation strategies. 

Beginning on Friday, January 21, we are shifting from a “contact tracing” notification model to a “possible exposure” notification model. This means parents/guardians will be informed via email if there was a possible exposure to a positive COVID-19 case. 

  • At the elementary level, we will email families in any affected classroom.

  • At the middle school, we will email families on any affected academic team, grade level, or athletic team.

  • At the high school level, we will email families of any affected grade level or athletic team. 

Staff and families will be asked to monitor for symptoms, but these notifications will not necessarily result in anyone being identified as a close contact and excluded from school. 

Please note that there will still be situations when the need to identify close contacts is warranted due to a direct COVID exposure. Particular attention will be paid to medically fragile staff and students, as well as those times and locations where there may be fewer layers of mitigation in place. As in the past, these situations may result in a student or staff member being excluded from school and asked to stay home and isolate for five to ten days. Families will be alerted by email and text message if their child is a close contact and must be excluded from school due to their contact with a positive case.

Please find the protocols here about what to do when: 

Additional quarantine and isolation information can be found on our local county department of health website, as well as the New York State Department of Health and CDC websites.

Thank you for your continued partnership as we work to keep our students and staff healthy and in school. If you have any questions or concerns about COVID-19 testing or other health and safety protocols, please do not hesitate to call your child’s nurse or Principal.

Brian Bailey, Ed.D. 

Superintendent of Schools