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RCSD Community Update: 4/16/21

April 16, 2021

Dear RCSD Community,

Things are feeling a lot more “business as usual” over at the High School these days. This week, RHS students and faculty participated in the traditional spirit week activities in preparation for tomorrow’s 3:00 p.m. Rye Harrison football game. Students, faculty, and staff dressed in red, white, and blue, beach attire, and even robes and pajamas. An after-school pep rally is planned for high school students (only) today to pump everyone up for The Game. Unfortunately, New York State Department of Health regulations prevent fans from gathering in Nugent Stadium, but players are allowed to invite two spectators each so there won’t be a shortage of socially distanced cheers on Sunday. The game will be broadcast live on the LocalLive free streaming service for the wider Rye and Harrison communities to watch:   

https://events.locallive.tv/school/rye-hs

 

Mental Health Services

As part of the District’s COVID recovery plan, we are partnering with a company called Effective School Solutions (ESS) to add additional mental health services and support for students and faculty at all of our schools. Beginning next week, three new counselors will be in place to support students struggling with emotional issues related to COVID-19 or other concerns. Because, to paraphrase Board of Education member Jane Anderson, it doesn’t matter how good the educational instruction is if a student is not in a good mental place to benefit from it.

Congressional Visit

Last Friday afternoon, the District was honored to welcome Representative Jamaal Bowman to the District’s offices. Representative Bowman, who represents New York’s 16th congressional district, came to thank 13 Rye High School students who had manned a volunteer vaccine hotline that helped 70 Rye community members secure vaccine appointments. Representative Bowman spoke to the students about the importance of service, the challenges of COVID to young people, and the impact of their efforts. He then gave each of them a Certificate of Congressional Recognition and took a whole bunch of photos with the students. Look for these in this month’s Superintendent’s Bulletin. The vaccine hotline has now officially wrapped up operations given that vaccine appointments are now much more easily accessible. I know there are a lot of people who are truly grateful to the students for helping them to get the shot when it wasn’t easy to do so.

COVID-19 Testing

The District COVID testing program continues. Please send your students for after-school testing; testing 5 percent of the population weekly is a critical factor in keeping our schools open for full-time, in-person teaching and learning. Our numbers of volunteers for testing have been slipping and we need to get them back up. It takes just a few short minutes, is easy, and is so important in keeping everyone safe in the schools. Find out more about the program here.

Case Update

Since my last community update on April 9, the District has had three new cases: one at Rye High School, one at Midland School, and one at Osborn School. Two of the cases resulted in school-related quarantines. We still have not seen an instance of COVID transmission within one of our schools. We know this because none of the students, faculty, or staff who have been exposed in school have later tested positive for COVID-19.

RHS Senior Events

I am happy to share that RHS will be able to recognize and celebrate our class of 2021 this spring. Plans for in-person Graduation, Prom, and a Graduation Caravan are in the works. While we are grappling with organizational challenges such as mandated COVID testing, limited participation, live-streaming, and strict safety protocols, we are confident that we can celebrate and honor our graduates in a fitting manner. I can’t wait to stand out on the field at Nugent Stadium celebrating the kids. 

Have a terrific weekend, and GO GARNETS!

Sincerely, 

Eric Byrne, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools