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RCSD Schools to Remain Closed for the Remainder of the School Year

Dear RCSD Community,

Today in his daily press conference, Governor Cuomo announced that all New York State schools will remain closed for the remainder of the school year due to the coronavirus crisis.  Remote learning is to continue for the remainder of the school year, and our buildings and campuses will remain closed. The Governor said he will announce a decision regarding summer school by the end of the month. We have no guidance as to what the Governor is referring to when he speaks about summer school. Historically, we have provided a very small summer school program for our students of greatest need. The State does not provide funding for summer programming and we do not have the fiscal capacity to support a new summer program for the general education population.  We await further guidance from the State on this topic and will communicate what we learn.

The Governor said that a decision about reopening in September would be made in the future, but he has tasked school districts with developing and submitting plans to reopen that would provide for social distancing and health and safety procedures. Several weeks ago, we assembled a School Reopening Task Force that has been hard at work to make appropriate plans in three key areas: instruction, operations, and social-emotional learning and health.  Draft guidelines for reopening schools have been released by the CDC and will be used in our planning. We will update the community throughout the reopening planning process.

Governor Cuomo did not announce an extension of the stay-at-home order today, however, it is expected that he will extend that order in the coming days. He said that a decision about that would be announced prior to May 15, when the current stay-at-home order expires. As a result, plans for events later on in May and June, including moving-up ceremonies, graduation, and prom, are still on the District calendar at this time. Be assured that we are looking into alternative plans should the stay-at-home order be extended.

We have tentatively identified July 25 as a possible Rye High School graduation date should we legally be permitted to gather physically. We are committed to honoring our graduating seniors, keeping our cherished traditions, and celebrating the accomplishments of this wonderful group of young people. Over the next few weeks, you will begin to see new ways of honoring our graduates taking place in the community, beginning with a new tradition starting tonight. Every Friday night, the lights at Nugent Stadium will shine for 20 minutes, beginning at 8:20 p.m., in tribute to the class of 2020.  I am grateful to the outpouring of support from our alumni who have become valued partners in celebrating the Class of 2020.

While not entirely unexpected, we recognize this announcement is a blow to many of our students, parents, and teachers.  Many of us had been holding out hope that we might return to see each other for even a short time in June. We will provide information in the coming weeks about collecting personal items from our schools and returning any school resources.

It certainly has been a challenging spring, however, we continue to see bright spots and hopeful signs in Rye. Together we will manage through this crisis, emerge from our homes, and come together again as a community. Stay healthy and well.

Sincerely,
Eric Byrne, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools