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Welcome Back Message from Dr. Byrne: 1/2/22

Dear RCSD Community,

Happy New Year! I hope those of you who were celebrating had a good holiday and all had an enjoyable winter break. For many families, COVID once again interrupted plans either due to illness or exposure, the struggle to access tests, or flight cancellations. While 2021 ended with a slew of challenges and a surge in cases, I believe there is cause for optimism as the severity of the Omicron variant seems to be significantly less than previous variants. As a community we must work together to keep everyone safe and continue to provide the best instructional program for our children. We must be calm, patient and work together as we move past these latest challenges.

During the winter break, there were some significant changes in guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the New York State Department of Health. There are two main areas of change in the guidance for schools as we launch 2022: The first is in providing additional rapid tests to support school districts in implementing Test-to-Stay. Fortunately, we launched Test-to-Stay several weeks ago, so this will replenish our supplies for the continuation of the program. 

The second change in the guidance is quarantine requirements for vaccinated school faculty/staff. Currently, vaccinated faculty/staff who test positive for COVID are required to quarantine for ten days. The updated guidance allows that to be shortened to five days IF they are showing no symptoms or have significantly improving symptoms and are not taking any fever-reducing medication. Our health services staff will discuss options with all impacted individuals. We are hopeful that this will shorten quarantine periods for some staff thus ensuring continuity of in-person instruction.

On December 27, the CDC announced changes to quarantine requirements for all non-vaccinated exposed and positive individuals. As of today, New York State has not adopted this new guidance. Students who test positive for COVID or are exposed to a COVID-positive individual if unvaccinated are still required to quarantine for 10 days. We will communicate out when the State and County adopt the new guidance.

There will be no surveillance testing this coming week due to the Gateway testing event taking place on Monday. For those who pre-registered (we only have kits for those who pre-registered) to participate last week, testing kits can be picked up tomorrow, January 3, in one of three ways listed below:

  • 7:30 a.m. - 8:30 a.m. Walk up pickup at Central Administration Building (CAB) at 555 Theodore Fremd, Suite B101
  • 9:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Drive Through pickup at Osborn School, 10 Osborn Rd.
  • 3:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. Walk up pickup at Central Administration Building (CAB) at 555 Theodore Fremd, Suite B101

Please find below a list of positive cases the District was informed of over the winter recess. As a reminder, you can see the complete log of notifications on the COVID page of the District’s website.

The District has been informed of the following individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19:

  • 11 individuals at Rye High School - no additional school-related contact tracing or quarantines required
  • 25 individuals at Rye Middle School - no additional school-related contact tracing or quarantines required
  • 15 individuals at Midland School - no additional school-related contact tracing or quarantines required
  • 10 individuals at Milton School - no additional school-related contact tracing or quarantines required
  • 22 individuals at Osborn School -  no additional school-related contact tracing or quarantines required

The individuals are currently in quarantine. Due to federal health privacy laws, additional information about the individuals cannot be released.

Again, I hope you had a good winter break. On Wednesday, January 5, at 5:30 p.m., I will host a virtual Q & A session via Google Meet to help clarify any new information that we receive from NYS, Westchester County, or the CDC this week. 

Join with Google Meet:

https://meet.google.com/jvb-ustb-dxh?hs=224

Join by phone:

(US) +1 267-625-2945 

(PIN: 194625771)

In the meantime, Please do not hesitate to email your school administrators, Director of Health Services Tracey Barnett, or me with any questions. We will answer any and all questions you may have tomorrow, Monday, January 3, when we are back at work. Thank you and Happy New Year!

Best regards,

Eric Byrne, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools