COVID-19/Coronavirus Updates & Resources

All RCS schools are closed through the remainder of the academic school year due to the ongoing COVID-19 public health situation. For updated information from the school district, including important notices, reentry efforts, learning resources, food distribution plans, child care resources and more, please visit the COVID-19/Reentry page.

District updates and resources on COVID-19 and Reopening

Given that this is a fluid and potentially rapidly developing situation, we will use this web page to share information and resources as the circumstances warrant. Any real-time, important information will be shared via the district’s School Messenger notification system, which can send e-mails, text messages and phone calls.

RCS District Status

  • All RCS schools will be closed through the remainder of the academic school year.
  • We are closely monitoring the situation at the state and local level and will let you know if that closure needs to be extended.
  • All school-related activities and programs are canceled until further notice.

RCS Reopening Committee

An RCS reopening committee has been meeting since the end of June. This committee is composed of more than 80 leaders, teachers, support staff, and parents/caregivers. Their task has been to examine the best way to deliver instruction, operate safely, and support our human resources during this pandemic. The New York State Education Department and the New York State Department of Health released reopening guidelines the week of July 13-17.

These various scenarios include: 

  • Full return to school with all students attending, with social distancing.
  • A hybrid model where some grades/students return to school with enhanced social distancing while others learn from home in a virtual environment. Hybrid alternatives could include rotating at-home/at-school instruction, staggered schedules or calendars.
  • Full virtual model, with all students participating from home.

To a large extent, how our district programs will be delivered and what our classrooms and schools might look like in the fall will also be determined by the Governor and by the guidance the district receives from the New York State Education Department (SED) and from the New York State Department of Health (DOH). 

The RCS District has begun to receive some of this statewide guidance and are using it to refine our plans for the 2020-21 school year. On Monday, July 13, SED announced a framework for a return to school and DOH released extensive health and safety guidance. More detailed guidance from SED is expected this week, however, with what we are planning, for now, these are some of the things you can expect to see if a return to our buildings is allowed: 

  • Daily health screenings: All students, staff and visitors will be required to perform an at-home health screening and temperature check before being allowed to enter any district buildings. An online reporting tool will be made available for daily screenings. Anyone with a temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or above should not come to school.
  • Face coverings for all: Face coverings are recommended to be worn at all times by students and staff, except in certain circumstances, while eating and during short breaks. Face coverings will be required for all students and staff when social distancing of six feet or more is not possible, in common areas such as hallways and on school buses.
  • Social distancing: Social distancing of six feet of space in all directions between individuals or use of approved physical barriers that do not adversely affect airflow will be required. 
  • Smaller cohorts of students: To maintain social distancing and reduce opportunities for transmission, students will be assigned to smaller cohorts. With a reasonable group size determined by classroom capacity, these self-contained groups or pods will spend most of their time together, in both classroom and common areas.
  • Ventilation: Schools will increase ventilation with outdoor air to the greatest extent possible while maintaining health and safety protocols.
  • Transportation: Face coverings for all students and staff on district buses will be required unless a student’s medical condition prevents it. There will be reduced capacity on all buses to maximize space between students and assigned seating. Families will be encouraged to transport their children when possible. Members of the same family who use the bus will be required to sit together. 
  • Athletics & extracurricular activities: As of July 15, no return to sports has been approved. If and when athletics are cleared to begin by state officials, these activities will be allowed considering social distancing, PPE usage, and cleaning and disinfection, as well as risk of COVID-19 transmission. Extracurricular decisions will be made at the district level with the same considerations in mind.
  • Hygiene, cleaning and disinfecting: The district will adhere to and promote hygiene, cleaning, and disinfection guidance set forth by DOH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and provide training to students, faculty, and staff on proper hand and respiratory hygiene. 
  • Social-emotional support: Available resources and referrals to address mental health, behavioral, and emotional needs of students, faculty, and staff must be in place when school reopens for in-person instruction. There will be training staff on how to support students during this transition.
  • Testing, monitoring & containment: District procedures will be in place to monitor the health of our school community daily. The district will work closely with Albany County Department of Health to promptly identify and respond to concerning trends. Protocols will be implemented to identify, isolate, and refer individuals with symptoms of illness or with risk of exposure to illness. The district will also work in coordination with ACDOH to support individuals returning to school following any quarantines related to recovery from illness, exposure to close contacts with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, or due to recent international travel or travel within a state with widespread transmission. Partnering with ACDOH will guide us in taking essential actions to protect the health of our school community, including possible school closure.

    This is only a partial list of the guidelines that must be in place as part of a return to in-person instruction. More details are expected from SED in the coming days and those requirements and recommendations will be reviewed by our reopening committee and included in a draft set of plans specific to the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk  Central School District. This draft plan must be submitted to the state Education Department on or before July 31.

    RCS Reopening & Operational Updates

    Informational Resources – Reopening

    New York State Department of Health Reopening Summary – July 2020

    New York State Department of Health – Reopening Checklist

    • Here are the full guidance documents from both NYSED and NYSDOH

    New York State Education Department Guidance as of 7-17-20

    New York State Department of Health Full Guidance, 7-14-20

    Food availability during closure

    Although school will be closed to students through the remainder of the school year, RCS students will be eligible to receive free breakfast and lunch options through this time. Any child under 18 years of age will be allowed to receive healthy meal and snack choices through the RCS district’s food service program.

    The locations and schedule for pick up are listed below. In an effort to limit personal contact, please remain in your vehicle and meals will be delivered to you in your vehicle.  Meals may be picked up between the hours of 7 am and 10 am, on Monday and Wednesday through June 2020.

    • Parents/caregivers of Pieter B. Coeymans Elementary children will go to the bus drop off loop of Pieter B. Elementary.
    • Parents/caregivers of A.W. Becker Elementary children will go to the bus drop off loop of A.W. Becker Elementary.
    • Parents/caregivers of RCS Middle School children who are in need of a breakfast/lunch option will go to the bus drop off loop of RCS Middle School.
    • Parents/caregivers of RCS High School children will go to the loading dock at the high school, which is located on the end of the high school facing 9W.

    Please note: any family with children attending multiple schools may pick up the meals for all children at one school location.  

    RCS “Work from Home” for Students and Families

    The RCS district is committed to offering continuing educational resources for our students during this extended closure. We would like to remind our parents/caregivers that it is important to acknowledge that there are practical limits to instructional program continuity. As part of that effort, we want to share the RCS “Work from Home” page to access continuing education materials shared by our teachers and staff for RCS students. To learn more, visit the “Work from Home” website.

    WMHT Public Media Educational Programming Block

    WMHT is offering an educational programming block and online resources targeted at students pre-k through 12. For the complete programming schedule, related resources, and additional home learning opportunities, visit wmht.org/homeclassroom.

    Special Education Programs and Services

    The Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk School District provides individualized instruction, accommodation of alternative learning styles, appreciation for diversity and promotion of healthy lifestyles. The district has specialized programs to assist and support all children in meeting their highest potential. For information regarding special education, visit the Special Education page.

    Child Care Update

    New York State is using a portion of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) funds to provide child care to income eligible essential workers at no cost. Essential workers who must work outside of the home and who are using a regulated child care provider will receive a scholarship for the cost of care as long as the funds to support it are available. All licensed and regulated providers who are caring for essential workers are able to participate in this new program.

    In order to qualify for the scholarship, families must have an adjusted gross income at or below 300% of the federal poverty level. For a family of four that equals an amount income of $78,600.

    Parents are asked to complete the following application for the CARES Child Care Scholarship via the link below. It informs parents that the application will be considered complete once the online application is finished AND the required supplemental documentation is submitted to Brightside Up, the Childcare resource and Referral Agency (CCRA) for Albany, Fulton, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady counties. For parents that currently receive a subsidy from their local DSS to pay for child care, this scholarship can cover the parent co-pay. Parents should apply for the CARES Act Scholarship, and then contact their local Department of Social Services to get a letter stating their current co-pay. Please address any questions to Tricia Howland at thowland@brightsideup.org.

    Click here for the COVID-19 CARES Child Care Scholarship Application

    If you are a parent or caregiver who needs child care, please complete this parent need for child care survey.

    Based on the information you provide about your job, employer, number of children, and financial need, OCFS may be able to help you find the child program you need. It may be a challenge to find child care due to COVID-19 related program closures, however the staff at OCFS are trying their best to support families to find the high quality child care that they need.

    In addition, the OCFS website has several resources available at https://ocfs.ny.gov/programs/childcare. If you are looking for child care, the Child Care Resource and Referral Agency (CCRR) is a great place to start. They will ask you about the kind of care you are looking for, the ages of your children, the hours of care you need and other specifics such as any special needs your child might have. Based on that information, they will be able to give you a list of providers that most closely meet your needs. Please contact:

    Brightside Up (formally Capital District Child Care Coordinating Council, Inc.)
    Ms. Abbe Kovacik, Executive Director
    91 Broadway
    Menands, NY 12204 Phone: (518) 426-7181, ext. 323
    Fax: (518) 426-9649
    Email: akovacik@cdcccc.org
    Website: http://www.cdcccc.org/

    Information Resources

    World Health Organization

    U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

    New York State Department of Health

    Call NYSDOH hotline at 1-888-364-3065  for more information about Coronavirus

    Albany County Department of Health

    Talking to Children about the Coronavirus COVID-19

    Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act)

    Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA of Act)