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RCSD Community Update

October 16, 2020

Dear Rye Families,

At Tuesday night’s Board of Education meeting, we held a robust - and lengthy - discussion about the District’s response to COVID-19 positive cases in our community. To watch the video, click here. The discussion begins at 26:30.

There have been several positive COVID cases among local private youth sports programs that we have been made aware of by individual families. It is critical that the school be informed if your student has been exposed to COVID and/or has been notified by a private program or a local Department of Health that quarantine is necessary. Please do not assume that we have heard from the Department of Health; their backlog is significant.  A student required to quarantine may not attend school in person. Other school-aged children in the family may be allowed to attend school; the DOH ultimately makes these decisions, not the school district or the youth sports program. Our Principals will work with families to be sure that quarantined students have access to schooling and continue the learning process. If your student is required to quarantine, please notify your school nurse and Principal as soon as possible, even during evening hours and over the weekend.

We generally only send communications about COVID cases, school closings, etc., to the parents/faculty/staff associated with the individual school affected. Should you wish to see these communications, there is a special page on the website called “COVID Communications,” linked here. We have also added a link to a list of COVID testing sites to the Health Services page. To view the list, click here.

We have been concerned to hear of several incidents of  “COVID shaming” in our community.  This behavior is both counterproductive and misguided.  Please don’t forget that these are our friends, colleagues, and neighbors and treat them as you would hope to be treated yourself. Affected students, parents, and faculty have been extremely forthcoming, communicative, and eager to help keep our community healthy. Shaming could lead to students, parents, and staff being fearful of providing information about their health or contacts, which could result in a breakdown of the tracing and quarantine system.

As careful as we are in all of the RCSD schools, student involvement with riskier off-campus activities, including youth sports and/or social gatherings, can compromise those efforts and lead to extended large-scale quarantines at best, and, at worst, the spreading of illness within our community. Please continue to remind your students to wear masks and practice social distancing even when not at school.

Midland School was closed on Tuesday, October 13, after the District learned about a positive case late on Columbus Day (Monday) night.  Unfortunately, it was too late to pivot to fully remote learning for Tuesday. We do not expect this to be a concern moving forward.

Rye High School students will continue remote learning through October 21; the hybrid schedule will resume on October 22. We look forward to welcoming everyone back to in-person learning. 

After consultation with the Department of Health, we were able to restart high school varsity and junior varsity sports on Wednesday, October 14.  Student-athletes are required to adhere to stringent COVID-avoidance protocols during practices, including wearing masks and practicing social distancing. 

On a brighter note, the field at Nugent Stadium at Rye High School and Middle School is finished and in full use by PE classes and JV and varsity sports teams. The final step - to add iron gates to the entrance on the Post Road - is due to be completed in November.

Finally, October is National Principals Month. I think we can all agree that the job of school principal is one of the toughest around in normal times, nevermind the complexities and challenges brought about by COVID. Please take a moment to thank your school’s principal for their leadership; they have truly risen to the occasion! 

Sincerely,

Eric Byrne, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools