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RCSD Community Update: 11/12/21

Dear RCSD Community,

I hope everyone had a meaningful Veterans’ Day holiday yesterday.  Midland School students had a chance to watch a terrific video of active and retired members of the United States Military sharing their thoughts and hopes on Veterans Day put together by Midland PTO members Kristan Watson and Paige McCarthy. The veterans' inspiring words (and their close ties to the Midland School family) make this a moving tribute to our country's brave men and women in uniform. Watch by clicking on the link below:

https://app.memento.com/KbXCzZuNE/group-video

School Tax Collection

Our printer has informed us that, due to staffing shortages at the U.S. Postal Service, the school district tax bills are being delivered to the community late. We are extending the deadline for tax payment from November 30 to December 31, 2021. We are working to communicate that information broadly, but please do share it with family and friends in the meantime.

Test-to-Stay Program Authorized

The District has been told that it will be allowed to launch a Test-to-Stay program wherein students, faculty, and staff who are exposed to a COVID-positive individual can be tested daily prior to entering school, preventing them from needing to quarantine as long as they test negative and remain symptom-free.  We are waiting for guidance from Westchester County. Once we have it, we will communicate out to our families, faculty, and staff with specifics on how the program will work in our schools. This is an incredibly exciting possibility as it will help us keep students and teachers in school while still keeping the community safe. 

Mask Mandate Advocacy

With the recent emergency authorization of the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5-11 and the subsequent rollout across the State, we are optimistic that we will get closer to returning schools to a typical model. I have been meeting with County and State officials, including NYSED Commissioner Betty Rosa, to push the NY Department of Health and Governor’s office to map out a plan for masking in schools as we move forward. I believe the state must develop a metric-based plan that will give school communities the ability to make indoor masking optional. For example, in Massachusetts, schools with an 80% vaccination rate for all staff and students may become mask-optional. A clear metric that can be applied across the State is necessary now so that communities can work toward the goal of making masks optional.

Pop-Up Vaccine Clinic at RMS

The District was recently chosen to be a site for two pop-up vaccine clinics for children ages 5-11 run by the Westchester County Department of Health. The clinics will be held in the RMS Gym on November 18 with the second dose on December 9 and on November 19 with the second dose on December 10.  Earlier this week, I sent a sign-up link to parents of students in grades K-6.  Despite some technical glitches on the County’s website, the slots filled up quickly.  We have created a Google form for parents to sign up for a waitlist; the County tells us they often have extra shots available at these clinics. We will call through the waitlist on the day of the clinics.  As we have seen with the other vaccine age group roll-outs, scheduling seems to be the hardest part of the process!

Case Update

We have had four new cases of COVID in the District since my last update: one was at Rye Middle School and resulted in a small number of quarantines. Two cases were at Milton School and one was at Midland School and these cases did not result in any quarantines. We are hopeful that as more students are vaccinated and that our test-to-stay program gets up and running, we will see our number of required quarantines greatly reduced.

Tonight’s Game

The undefeated varsity football team takes on Somers tonight at 7:00 p.m. in the Section 1 Class A Championship. The game is away at Arlington High School; you can watch it on LocalLive here

Go Garnets!

Sincerely,

Eric Byrne, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools