Letter to Families & Staff; 03-04-2022

Dear RCS Families & Staff, 

This will be our weekly letter to families and staff. Please see the bottom of this letter for important updates regarding upcoming events and celebrations, including the PreK through grade 8 early dismissal days on March 16 and 17, grade 3 through 8 state testing, and the High School Drama Clubs' live performances of Newsies that is returning to the high school stage next week. 

The statewide universal mask mandate for schools was lifted as of March 2, 2022. This means that the majority of students, staff, and school visitors are no longer required to wear a mask in our school buildings or on school transportation. This will likely have a positive effect on the nature of instruction and interactions among our students and staff. Some adults and students may choose to continue to wear masks at various times or in various locations. There are many reasons that someone may choose to wear a mask, either for themselves or for their families. Regardless, it is important that we treat all members of our community, wearing a mask or not, with respect, just as we have respected each other over these past two difficult years.

Things are MUCH better in our region and the risk of contracting COVID is much lower.  However, taking masks off does not mean that the pandemic is over. The health and safety guidance from the state and local health departments related to COVID-19 continues to evolve. While the latest state guidance removes the mask requirement, the following Department of Health protocols remain in place:

  • Regardless of vaccination status, if a student tests positive for COVID-19 they must isolate for a full five days. Students may return to school after day five if they are asymptomatic or if symptoms are resolving. For days 6-10 following a positive test, students and staff are required, as per the NYSDOH, to wear a mask in school, including on the school bus. If the family does not want their child to wear a mask for days 6-10, then the child will need to remain out of school until day 11.
  •  If a student has been exposed to COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status it is highly recommended they wear a mask for a full 10 days following that exposure. A big change in the newest guidance is that students and staff are not required to isolate if they have been exposed to a positive case, regardless of vaccination status, and can continue coming to school. 
  • State and local health officials continue to recommend testing for COVID-19 following possible exposure. Take-home COVID-19 tests are available at all RCS schools in the main office for anyone who wants one. If you would like a lab test, please contact your student's nurse.
  • Anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19 should stay home from school, regardless of vaccination status or recent infection, until tested. Students who do not take a test need to remain out of school for five full days. If your student has symptoms and you aren’t sure what to do, or if you need a COVID-19 test kit, please contact your student's nurse.

As always, we remain committed to keeping our students in school, while providing a safe learning environment for all. We will continue to follow additional mitigation strategies to prevent the spread of illness in our schools and on our buses. These mitigation strategies include:  

  • Seating in classrooms will remain distanced at this time, 3’- 6’ when possible.
  • Students should continue to distance themselves at lunch to the greatest extent possible.
  • Air circulation will continue to include additional fresh air through the vents.  When it warms up, we will also encourage opening windows.
  • Frequent contact surfaces will be disinfected. 
  • Students and staff should continue to wash and/or sanitize their hands.
  • Students and staff who are sick or not feeling well should not attend school.

There will be times and locations where it will not be possible to adhere to all of our mitigations strategies. The purpose of these strategies is to reduce the spread of infection and, as such, we will adhere to these plans to the greatest extent possible. We will also continue our due diligence with regard to notifying impacted staff and families if we learn of exposure to a positive case. Please visit our COVID-19 Illness, Isolation, and Quarantine Guidance page for more information regarding our notification process. 

I deeply appreciate all the RCS employees for leaning into the countless challenges, and for the continued dedication to be there for our students. Thank you to the parents, guardians, and families for their unwavering support. And, most importantly, I am grateful for our students, for their perseverance, sense of determination, and commitment to being learners and explorers despite the many challenges these past two years. 

We remain in close contact with state and local health officials and are committed to providing staff and families with clear, updated information on the latest health and safety guidance. If you have any questions or concerns about COVID-19 testing or other health and safety protocols, please do not hesitate to contact your student’s principal.


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:

Upcoming Grade 3 through 8 NYS Testing: Earlier today, we shared with elementary and middle school families a letter and the schedule for the upcoming state testing for students in grades 3 through 8. You can access that letter here.

Upcoming Important Dates (Click here to access the RCS calendar)

  • Friday, March 4: End of the second trimester (PK-5)
  • Friday, March 11: End of third five-week interim period (MS/HS)
  • Wednesday, March 16 and Thursday, March 17: Parent Conference Day, early dismissal PK-8 only.
    • Elementary Schools: Buses depart at 12:30 PM, please note the following for this date:
      • PM Pre-K students will not be coming to school these days and AM Pre-K students will be dismissed with all other students.
      • Students will eat lunch prior to dismissal. 
      • Parent pick-up will begin at 12:05 PM. 
      • Students who take the bus will be dismissed starting at 12:15 PM.
      • Afterschool childcare programs will be held.
      • Parents/guardians should be prepared for their students to be home 3 hours earlier. 
    • Middle School: Students will dismiss at 11:07 AM and will receive lunch prior to dismissal.
  • Monday, April 4: Staff Development Day, early dismissal PK-12.