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Department of Health Quarantine Guideline Changes

January 11, 2021

Dear RCSD Parents and Guardians,

I would like to begin by apologizing for the number of communications I have been sending, and will probably be sending in the near term, with the codicil that I feel it is important to keep parents/guardians informed and to share information as I receive it. Better to be over-informed than under-informed, or so I believe.

For some time the District has been frustrated by what we saw as overly-sweeping quarantine orders imposed by the Westchester County Department of Health (DOH). Beginning with our first case this school year, the DOH repeatedly quarantined large numbers of individuals -- including everyone who was in a space, no matter how distant they were from a positive individual or if masks were being worn at the time. Given that our school community has been vigilant in maintaining six feet of distance and wearing masks at all times on school grounds, and that we have seen no cases of in-school spread of COVID-19, I have been lobbying County officials and the DOH for a change in the guidance and, hopefully, a resulting reduction in the number of people required to quarantine. 

After over a month of steadfast lobbying and arguing, on Friday evening we received updated guidance from the Westchester County DOH that changes the process for identifying individuals who need to quarantine based on in-school exposure to COVID-19. We have been told, in writing, that the use of face masks and six-foot distancing will now be considered when determining who must quarantine following exposure to a COVID-19 positive individual. 

We will begin to follow this new guidance immediately. In order to limit the number of students, faculty, and staff who must quarantine, we will be keeping detailed seating charts for classrooms and other spaces, including areas used for lunch at the High School and Middle School. Continuing to practice six-foot social distancing and mask-wearing should also help reduce the risk of exposure and resultant quarantining.

It is my sincere hope that this new guidance will greatly reduce the number of students and faculty who will need to quarantine moving forward, which will help us to keep schools open. 

Thank you and stay well, 

Eric Byrne, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools