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RCSD Community Update: 9/24/21

September 24, 2021

Dear RCSD Community,

Our first full week of school is behind us! Students and teachers alike are settling nicely into their daily routines and enjoying being back together in our schools. I have a few updates to share with you this week:

COVID Boosters and Testing

Overnight, CDC Director Rachelle Walensky gave final approval for Pfizer BioNTech booster shots and recommended that teachers and school staff receive these boosters. We are hoping to be able to open a pop-up clinic to provide these booster shots so they are easy and convenient for our teachers and staff to receive. 

Our surveillance COVID-19 testing program for students will restart very soon. This year, surveillance testing is being organized by Westchester County in conjunction with the District. Our testing partner will be Mt. Sinai Hospital, once the contract between Westchester County and Mt. Sinai is approved. We will share more detailed information as soon as we have it. Additionally, by order of Governor Hochul, all school employees are required to show proof of vaccination or be tested weekly. While the great majority of our staff is vaccinated, those requiring weekly testing will begin testing on Monday, September 27.

Mask Reminders

Parents, please take a minute this weekend to remind your student to keep their masks on and up throughout the course of the school day. We’re seeing a bit of mask slippage - particularly at the High School. The last thing we want to do is end up calling families to quarantine students. Students who do not have their masks fully up and in place are in danger of being quarantined should they be exposed to a positive case in school. The DOH has made it very clear that only those students who are wearing well-fitted masks will be exempt from quarantine. 

K-8 Universal Screener 

On September 15, Dr.Tricia Murray, the District’s Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, sent out a communication to parents/guardians of students in grades K-8 notifying them that the District will be administering a Universal Screener to evaluate academic progress in reading and math to all students grades K-8 three times this year. Screenings will take place in the fall, winter, and spring with the first administration taking place September 27 - October 8. Dr. Murray held an online Q&A about the screening program on the 20th. If you weren’t able to attend, here is a link to a video recording of the meeting.

Back to School Nights

Due to continuing restrictions on large numbers of people in school buildings, all of the District’s Back to School nights are again virtual this year. The elementary schools held their Back to School nights this past Wednesday, RMS’s was Thursday, and RHS’s will take place on Thursday, October 7, at 6:30 p.m.

Heard in Rye

The first Heard in Rye event of the 2021-22 school year is coming up next Wednesday, September 29, at 7:00 p.m. The topic is timely: “Demystifying Executive Function and How to Get our Kids Ready for School.” The event is virtual on Zoom and HIR asks that you register in advance using this link.

It has been great to see our student-athletes back out on the fields. Tonight at 7:00 p.m. the varsity football team takes on the Headless Horsemen of Sleepy Hollow at Nugent Stadium. I hope to see the stadium filled in support of our football team and cheer squad, so don your garnet and black and come join me in the stands. LocalLive is also streaming the event live; click here to watch. Go Garnets! 

 

Sincerely, 

Eric Byrne, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools