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RCSD Community Update and COVID Testing Sign-Up Link

January 29, 2021

Dear RCSD Community,

It looks as if Mother Nature may be sending some snow our way on Sunday night into Monday. Please remember that while we might have rain and slush here in comparatively-balmy Rye, there may well be snow and ice on the roads our teachers and staff use to get to work.  Also, the extreme cold snap that we are presently enduring will cause snow to rapidly accumulate on roadways. Please keep an eye or ear open for any weather-related announcements.  I also post District-related announcements on Twitter @EricByrneRCSD. Feel free to follow me.

Reopening Preparations

Last night, I sent out a communication notifying the community that the District will begin preparations for reopening schools for full-time, in-person learning after Governor Cuomo stated that based on new CDC data about the lack of transmission in schools, local authorities can make the decision about reopening schools.  I recognize that parents, faculty and staff, and members of the community will have lots of questions about what reopening will look like for the school district.  Tuesday night’s Board of Education meeting will now be dedicated to the topic of reopening, and the budget presentation will move to the February 23 meeting. I will also address reopening in the community forum on the dates I provided to the community last week. Date and time information for the sessions are below, and the login information for each session is linked:

RCSD Surveillance Testing

A key to reopening schools for more in-person instruction is the identification and isolation of positive cases in the community. We encourage everyone to join this effort and work to keep everyone safe through surveillance testing.  

Beginning this coming  Monday (weather permitting), the District will offer in-vehicle, free, non-invasive nasal swab COVID-19 testing in the parking lot of the District’s offices at 555 Theodore Fremd Avenue, Suite B101, to RCSD students, faculty, and staff on a voluntary basis. Appointments are available from 2:15 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. on Mondays. Tests are self-administered; participants do not need to leave their cars to be tested. A link to sign up for testing is below. Please note that you must use a Gmail account (either your student’s or your own) to sign up for an appointment and fill out the required forms.

To get tested:

  1. Schedule an appointment by clicking here
  2. Fill out an online Registration Form by clicking here
  3. Print, complete, and bring the following two forms with you to the appointment:

Sign-ups are on a first-come, first-served basis. We will seek to test 5% of the in-school population per week to ensure we have enough test kits for the remainder of the school year. We have created a document with Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) containing detailed information about the tests and testing process. We have also made a short video showing how to get to the testing site and what the testing process is like. Please note that testing appointments will follow school District weather and other types of closings. 

District Vaccination Update

At the request of the County, we conducted an informal (anonymous) poll of our teachers/staff to determine how much success they have had with getting the first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine. So far, only 31% of responding faculty and staff have been able to receive the first vaccine dose. 59% of those who have scheduled appointments will receive their first shot after March 1, and 26% of respondents could not secure an appointment to be vaccinated. These numbers are not encouraging. I am hopeful that the County is able to help us secure additional vaccination appointments for our teachers and staff. County Executive Latimer is working hard to secure vaccines in an effort to accelerate the vaccinations of educators in support of reopening schools. 

Case Update

The District has seen 6 new COVID cases over the past week: two at RHS, two at RMS, and two at Osborn School. Only one case at Osborn School resulted in quarantines. We are certainly hopeful this downward trend will continue.

Update on Spring Standardized Tests

On Monday, the New York State Board of Regents announced the State will submit an application for a federal waiver for 2021 annual testing. If approved, the waiver would cancel grades 3-8 standardized math and ELA tests and Regents exams for the spring of 2021. It’s not entirely clear when a decision will be made, but I will certainly keep the community informed as the process moves along. 

Enjoy the weekend and stay safe.

Sincerely,

Eric Byrne, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools