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RCSD Community Update: 3/26/21

March 26, 2021

Dear RCSD Community,

This week, we welcomed back to full-time, in-person school our 9th and 10th graders. We are thrilled to have them back in the building. As many of you recall from pre-COVID days, dismissal time can be fairly wild with both RMS and RHS students flowing out of the buildings simultaneously. On Wednesday afternoon, things got a little hairier (pun intended) when a groundhog inserted himself into the process. I’m told that said groundhog lodged himself under a parent’s car on Parsons Street during dismissal and refused to budge. Fortunately, a member of the Rye Police Department was on hand for traffic control and was able to remove the groundhog. I am confident this will make it to the Police Blotter next week. Wednesday evening, Evans Anderson, a sixth grade student at RMS sent me a blow-by-blow account of ‘Groundhog Gate’ as he called it. Evans shared, “The adult told us to back up from the groundhog. Even more adults started arriving, turning into a full blown traffic jam.” The perfect combination for a little bit of chaos, a stubborn groundhog, lots of cars and several hundred middle school students!

 

Today marks the beginning of our Spring Break. I wish you much rest and rejuvenation whether you are staying put or travelling over the break. Which leads me to a pressing concern for many:

NY Travel Guidance

Although Governor Cuomo announced that there would be changes to the travel restrictions ending the need to quarantine following out-of-State travel effective April 1, the State’s Travel Advisory website has not been updated to reflect the Governor’s statements. The most recent update was on March 10. That update created quarantine exemptions only for those who are fully-vaccinated and those who have contracted COVID-19 within a certain period of time prior to travel. All other travelers are, at this moment, still subject to quarantine and all travelers are still asked by New York State to complete a Traveler Health Form. Should this change, we will communicate out over the break. For specific information about New York State travel guidance and quarantine, see the communication I emailed to the community yesterday here.

NYS 3-8 Testing

On Thursday, March 25, I sent a communication regarding NYS 3-8 testing explaining the opt-in process we will use this year. In an effort to answer any questions, I will host a Q & A session for parents on Monday, April 5 at 7:00 p.m. via Google Meet. The link to attend the session is here: https://meet.google.com/aob-yzog-ntt, or you may join by phone at 1 510-871-3048 (PIN: 837248002). The session will also be recorded if you are not able to attend on Monday.

COVID Testing for Seniors and Juniors

The District’s COVID testing will not take place over the break, but will restart on Monday, April 5. To accommodate juniors and seniors who may have been travelling, the District has set aside a special block of hours on Monday and Tuesday from 12:00-2:00 p.m. for those students who wish to be tested. The District will also be holding its regularly-scheduled testing at RHS/RMS from 3:00-4:00 on Monday, April 5, and at Osborn from 3:00-4:00 on Tuesday, April 6.

Case Update

Since my last community update on March 19, the District has had 10 new cases: three at Rye High School, six at Rye Middle School, and one at Midland. Six of the cases resulted in quarantines. We still have not seen an instance of COVID transmission within one of our schools.

Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum Instruction and Assessment Search
Earlier in the school year, Sherri Goffman, the District’s Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, announced her intention to retire at the conclusion of the school year. The District has been engaged in a comprehensive search process to find her replacement, and the search is nearing conclusion. We are fortunate to have a very strong pool of candidates. I expect to be able to make an announcement when we return from spring break. Many thanks to all the faculty, staff, and parent volunteers who served on the interview committees for the search.

Events in Boulder, Colorado

Many of us have been shocked and saddened by the events this week in Boulder, Colorado. It struck particularly hard for me personally as my daughter is at college in Boulder and was near the location of the shooting not long before the tragic incident. The District condemns the violence and hate perpetrated by the shooter against innocent bystanders. Violent acts such as this are eating away at the fabric of our society. We need to come together as one nation, unified, no matter race, religion, political view, to end these senseless acts of hate. We are committed to keeping our school campuses safe for our students, faculty, and staff while striving to achieve an environment of harmony, acceptance, and unity in our school community. 

Have a terrific spring break; it feels like spring has finally sprung at long last.

 

Sincerely, 

Eric Byrne, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools