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RCSD Community Update

November 6, 2020

Dear RCSD Community,

As if this week hasn’t already had its share of confusion, the District has been receiving a fair amount of new - and sometimes bewildering - rules and regulations. I apologize in advance for the length of this communication; there is much to convey and, hopefully, to clarify.

Contact Tracing/Quarantine
The District learned of another case of COVID-19 at Midland School this week. The Westchester County Department of Health (WCDOH) is requiring a number of students and faculty to quarantine as a result of a direct exposure to this case. In our dealings with the WCDOH, we learned that it is experiencing huge delays in contact tracing as a result of an increased number of cases. Contact tracing that might have taken place the day a positive result was received is now stretching to multiple days after.

Effective today, the WCDOH announced that they will no longer be requiring clearance forms for those individuals who have had to quarantine in order to return to work/school. The WCDOH was seeing numerous instances of falsification of date information on the forms by individuals seeking to return to their regular activities before their quarantine was completed. As a result, without any prior notice, the WCDOH has eliminated this step. Moving forward, any individual who has been quarantined by the WCDOH will no longer be required to provide the “release of quarantine letter.” All release of quarantine letters will be sent directly from the WCDOH to the District. As this regulation is brand new, the District is still working through this new process.  

New Travel Regulations
On Saturday, October 31, Governor Cuomo announced a new travel policy that will replace the travel advisory list effective November 4. To view the new guidelines, click here. The new policy states that all travelers returning from any state (except New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania) must test negative for COVID-19 within three days before arriving in New York. Then, after arrival, travelers must quarantine for three days. They must then take a test on the fourth day, or continue to quarantine for the full 14 days. There has been some confusion about the numbering of those days. The first day is not the day the traveler returns to New York; the first day is the day after they return. So if a traveler returns on Monday, Tuesday is day 1, and the traveler can be tested on Friday (day 4). These tests cannot be rapid tests (molecular or antigen); they must be PCR tests, meaning that the traveler is unlikely to receive same-day clearance to return to work/school. We recognize that this is very inconvenient, but these are New York State regulations and we must abide by them.

If the first and second tests are returned negative, the quarantine restrictions can be lifted. Travelers who choose not to be tested upon their return to New York must remain in quarantine for the full 14-day period. 

New Yorkers who travel outside of the state for less than 24 hours must take a COVID-19 test within four days upon returning.

There is no change to the regulations affecting travelers coming from international destinations. They will still be required to quarantine for 14 days upon their return to the United States per the Department of Health, unless they have traveled to one of the 31 countries/territories currently not subject to the Governor’s Executive Order.

Regents Exams Cancelled/SAT Will be Held on Saturday
In another departure from “business as usual,” the Board of Regents announced on Thursday that they will not hold Regents exams in January. There has been no announcement as to whether the exams will be offered in June and/or August, and no decision has yet been made about the other state assessments held in the spring; we will certainly keep everyone updated as we learn more. The High School will be administering the SAT test tomorrow, Saturday.

Next Phase of Reopening
The Board and Administration are engaged in discussions about the next phase of our reopening. Parent, teacher, and student surveys intended to gather information and feedback will be launched in the coming weeks. I will also be holding small focus groups in the latter half of the month into early December. More information on this will come next Friday.

Sports/Field Update
In a welcome bit of normalcy, high school fall sports playoffs are in the works. A seeding meeting to set brackets will take place on November 15, and tournament dates for boys and girls soccer and field hockey have been set. I regret that fans are still not allowed to attend what are sure to be exciting contests. Each player may only have two guests in attendance and they must still complete a health form.

Work on the Midland north field is progressing nicely. Contractors laid grass sod this week. The grass needs a bit of time to root, and then the field will be ready for use.

Enjoy the warm weather this weekend.

 

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