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RCSD Community Update: 12/3/21

December 3, 2021

Dear RCSD Community,

I believe I might have experienced a Hanukkah miracle. As you may know, the New York State Department of Health has a new Commissioner. Dr. Howard Zucker resigned a few months ago and Dr. Mary Bassett took the reins of the department just this Wednesday. I managed to wait until Thursday to send an email introducing myself and sharing some opinions about where we need to head in terms of navigating COVID in the schools across the State. The miracle occurred last night when I received an actual response from Dr. Bassett -- something I had never experienced in my previous attempts of engaging with the NYS DOH Commissioner.  This causes me to be cautiously optimistic that we may be able to exert some practical influence on future decision-making from the NYS DOH. Fingers crossed!

Senior Scenes

Live theater is back at Rye High School. This Saturday, the Parsons Street Players will present “Senior Scenes” in two shows at the Performing Arts Center at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. The show includes short scenes produced and directed by members of the senior class with actors from the High School. Tickets are available at the door. For more information and to see the producers and cast, click here for the show flyer.

Senior Internship Program

Every spring, the Rye High School senior class spends the final four weeks of the school year engaged in an internship program. It’s an invaluable time that provides them a window into the world of work and allows them to explore potential careers of interest. Students in past classes have done everything from working at the New York State Assembly to volunteering at the Rye Nature Center and Smile Starters Pediatric Dentistry. As you might imagine, the senior internship program was hit particularly hard last year due to COVID as opportunities were very hard to come by.  If you or your company might be willing to host a Rye High School senior, in person or remotely, I encourage you to reach out to the head of our senior internship program, Jenn Giaquinto. For more information, click here

Parent University Videos

The District’s parent education program, Parent University, is in full swing, with 17 offerings planned thus far and more to come. The workshops cover a broad swath of subjects, including technology, math, writing, and school transitions. The 2021-22 Parent University workshop catalog can be found on the District’s website under the Families tab. If you can’t make a particular workshop, never fear: they are being recorded and the recordings are being posted in the catalog in the column on the far right.  Please allow a few days after the event for the videos to be posted.

Westchester County Vaccine Clinics

As you may recall, the District was also chosen to be a site for two pop-up vaccine clinics for children ages 5-11 run by the Westchester County Department of Health. The first two clinics were held in the RMS Gym on November 18 and November 19.  The clinics went very smoothly with the County administering 170 shots on the 18th and 165 on the 19th.  I want to thank County Executive George Latimer for stopping by the clinic on Friday to say “hello” to parents and students and to greet the clinic workers. Second shots will be administered in the second round of clinics coming up next week on December 9th and 10th. We have asked Westchester County to consider holding an additional clinic here; I will let the community know if we are chosen to be a site.

Case Update

We’ve been seeing an increase in COVID cases in the District lately, most likely due to a combination of more testing around the Thanksgiving holiday and increased transmission due to indoor gatherings. In the past week, we have had five cases at RHS, five cases at RMS, four cases at Midland School, and one case at Osborn School. Only two of the cases resulted in quarantines. We are hopeful that as more students are vaccinated, we will see our number of required quarantines reduced.

Have a good weekend, and to the Parsons Street Players, break a leg!



Eric Byrne, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools