- Rye City School District
RCSD Community Update: 2/5/21
February 5, 2021
Dear RCSD Community,
At a White House briefing today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky announced that the CDC will release guidance on school reopenings in the coming week. I will share this information with the community as soon as it is available.
At Tuesday night’s Board of Education meeting, I presented a proposed plan for reopening the District’s schools, which was followed by a robust discussion and comments from community members. Yesterday, I sent all parents/guardians a survey to gauge interest in students returning to full-time school five days a week. Thus far, we’ve received 1,885 responses, with 92% of parents/guardians indicating they would like their children to return to full-time, in-person school. Please keep those responses coming in - the deadline to complete the survey is February 8. This data is critical so we know how many students will be in our buildings to begin physical preparations. Please complete the survey even if you have already filled out a separate survey for RHS or RMS. I will be holding a series of community forums to discuss reopening and to address any questions or concerns in the coming weeks:
- Elementary Schools: Tuesday, February 9, at 4:30 PM
- Tuesday, February 9, at 7:00 PM
- Wednesday, February 10, at 9:30 AM
- Thursday, February 11, at 1:00 PM
- Friday, February 12, at 3:00 PM
Advocacy and Action
As we work toward the full reopening of schools, there are some very impactful actions that parents in the community can take that will help us achieve this important goal. First, please consider lobbying New York State lawmakers to ask for immediate access to vaccines for teachers and for more COVID tests for school districts. Second, participate in our surveillance testing program. Third, honor the New York State travel quarantine orders to keep the community positivity rate low.
To advocate on behalf of schools and students, please use the links below to contact our elected officials:
- Governor Andrew Cuomo - Please use the following link to submit your comments to the Governor via an electronic form: https://www.governor.ny.gov/content/governor-contact-form
- New York State Assembly Member Steve Otis - OtisS@nyassembly.gov
- New York State Senator Shelley Mayer- firstname.lastname@example.org
- County Executive George Latimer - email@example.com
RCSD Surveillance Testing
The District began its COVID surveillance testing program on Tuesday, rather than Monday, due to winter storm Orlena. We lost a number of appointments due to the rescheduling; we ended up testing 36 individuals. I am happy to report that no one tested positive. Please sign up to be tested in the coming weeks. Surveillance testing is a critical component of our reopening plan. Please be sure to make a separate appointment for each person being tested, complete the online registration form, and fill out the two paper forms and bring them with you to speed your way through testing. All the forms can be found on the District’s COVID page.
We have had a significant decrease in positive COVID-19 cases in our schools this week. Hopefully, we have turned a corner and will continue on a positive path. Since my last update, the District has seen three positive cases: two at Rye High School and one at Milton School. Only one of these cases resulted in exposures requiring quarantine.
Special Education Parent Universities
The Special Education Department is hosting a series of Parent University Sessions to assist parents in preparing for student annual review sessions. The Department is also planning a Question and Answer Session on Monday, February 8 at 3:30 p.m. around reopening specifically for parents of special education students.
Travel Quarantine Requirements
As we inch closer to the Mid-Winter Recess (Feb. 15-19), please be mindful that New York State’s travel quarantine requirements have not changed. If you are planning to travel out of the area or out of the country, please review the guidance and plan accordingly.
Capital Project Update
Yesterday, the District received word that the State Education Department has approved all of the capital projects in Phase 2 of the District’s construction timeline. These projects include the secure entry vestibules at all five schools and the enclosure of the interior courtyard at Rye High School to create a library extension. For a complete list of projects in Phase 2, click here. The District is soliciting contractor bids on these projects now; construction is expected to begin over the summer.
Have a good weekend and enjoy the big game.
Eric Byrne, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools