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A Day for a King...

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 This week marks the annual anniversary of honoring and remembering one of our nation's greatest leaders and role models, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. One of the most impressive things about Dr. King's leadership is that he was not an individual appointed to a leadership position, or elected, or managing a company like a CEO. He was an ordinary man who firmly believed that good could triumph over hate. He believed those words in our Declaration of Independence when our nation's creators wrote, "All men are created equal." He believed that no matter what walk of life you came from, you were worthy of greatness, liberties, freedoms, and happiness. It was Dr. King's ideals, passion for advocating for others, and positivity that built his legion of followers. That's what made him a leader. It was his vision and undying desire to make the world around him a better place. Fast forward all these years and our nation is still clouded in a veil of inequality and more

RCSD COVID Adjustments...

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Well, the year 2022 has certainly begun as chaotically as most people probably envisioned with COVID adjustments happening rapidly. Working in a school system, it certainly feels like April/May 2020 all over again where no two days were the same and the guidance, protocols, recommendations were changing by the hour. That being said, there are some changes that take effect this week coming from the NYSDOH and Oneida County Health Department that will have an impact on schools. First and foremost, it is important to know that each individual school district has been given latitude to increase the number of days above the County's requirement for quarantine/isolation, which means you will definitely see inconsistency from school district to school district. Also, if you have not seen Oneida County's most recent guidance on quarantine and isolation, you can do so by clicking this link:  https://ocgov.net/sites/default/files/exec/2022/covid/QuarantineGuidelines_01.06.22final.pdf . A

Welcome 2022...

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  I hope that everyone has had a wonderful start to the New Year and is welcoming the new year with optimism and excitement. Over the last few weeks of 2021, there were some developments that will directly affect schools in the coming weeks as it relates to COVID. While we have yet to receive updated school guidance regarding quarantine/isolation periods, the CDC has announced a shortened 5-day quarantine/isolation period for select cases and individuals. This would be a drastic and much less disruptive situation if NYS adopts these parameters for school-related situations. Also, NYS has been promoting the implementation of Test-to-Stay (TTS) programs for students and staff in schools. I expect that Oneida County will have parameters in place for this program in the coming weeks and that schools will be able to extend this as an additional option to help families and students in the future. Finally, as you may be aware, Governor Hochul this week has announced that NYS has provided at-h

Happy Holidays...

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It has certainly been a long four months to get to this point in the year, and we all know that the next six months will be less than smooth. Each year when we reach the holidays, it is usually a time for families and folks to reflect and enjoy each other and their friends. This year, it brings with it a renewed sense of stress and concern as continued conversations and changes are occurring related to COVID. There does not seem to be anything about the upcoming holiday week that feels normal or routine. For the last year, we have continued to work together and do whatever it took to ensure that our kids can continue to grow throughout challenging physical environments and ever-changing circumstances. While we may not know exactly what to expect in a few weeks when the calendar pages turn, we do know that we have a few days coming up where we can take a breath and attempt to relax. I hope that everyone has a moment of time to spend with their families/friends and to remember the positi

Danger, Beware...

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  By now, most everyone can agree that the increase in screen time that all individuals have experienced can have a negative effect on various parts of human interaction. Schools have particularly noticed a decrease in our students' ability to interact with each other appropriately, as well as a difference in the way that many adults have chosen to treat each other recently. With so much of one's life being online these days, actual face-to-face interaction and knowing how to conduct oneself when in public places is a character trait that we all have to bring back to the table. Many students have to relearn how to function in a public setting. We have to be retaught that things such as vandalism may get you increased points in an online gaming world, but in the real world can lead to serious issues for children and their families. We need to relearn that the type of language and the way one speaks/types in a text chat is not the same as an academic piece of writing or a face-to

Test to Stay...

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As you may have heard, in a much-needed change of direction, New York State is encouraging schools and Counties to consider participating in a previously announced Test to Stay program for asymptomatic students and staff who have been exposed to COVID-19 in the school setting. This would allow students and staff to continue attending work/school during an exposure period through a testing program. Also of positive news, Oneida County is planning to participate in the program which means that our students and staff can benefit. This is not a program that is immediately available as the district needs to work with the County Health Department to develop plans and procedures that will then be approved by the County. It is anticipated throughout the State that the program will be available when school resumes in January following the holiday recess. While the full details of the plan requirements are not known, there are some aspects of the Test to Stay program that we are familiar with. W

Manners Matter...

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It's hard to believe that we are entering the month of December already and that three months of school have passed. From all of the turbulence that was experienced to start the year in September to all of the unknowns as we move into winter when it comes to dealing with COVID. All members of our school community have gone above and beyond to keep things moving forward and work to get back to an environment where everyone is comfortable. Unfortunately, as we navigate this stressful world that is charged with strong opinions, we have noticed a diminishment in the way in which people treat each other. Adults speaking to adults, students speaking to students, students speaking to adults, and adults speaking to students. Any way you slice it, we have lost sight of the basic principles of manners. If the challenges that we have all faced this year were a reason for that, I could accept the way in which people treat each other at times. However, that is not the case. Despite all of the s