Late November is the traditional start to the Holiday Season. This year, 2020, is going to bring an entirely new meaning to the holidays and to what and how people celebrate. My personal experience started the other week with helping my mother understand that it was okay for her to cancel our family Thanksgiving and that the family wouldn't hate her for doing so. Like many families, my family is spread throughout the country and bringing people together is not only challenging, but in the current situation, potentially not safe. In my conversation with my mother, I said to her, "Mom, if we need a holiday to get together as a family and enjoy each other's company, then we're doing something wrong." The fact is, also like many families (prior to COVID), my family takes as many opportunities to be together as possible throughout the year. The reality is, holidays can happen on any given day of the year. In reflection, why do people need a holiday to think of others and offer thanks to those that they appreciate? Especially given this year, the list of people who are worthy of support and praise is long and ongoing. First and foremost, on a global scale, our frontline workers who have continuously and tirelessly supported communities everywhere (Rome included) in the battle against COVID-19 need our praise, admiration, and support. Without our medical professionals and health care professionals, many of us would not be able to continue our lives as "traditionally" as possible. Within our community specifically, I am extremely thankful for the perseverance, growth, and dedication of our teaching faculty; who have literally had their profession turned upside down overnight and have been living in a snow globe ever since. Just when you think you have something figured out and are feeling comfortable, someone picks up the globe and shakes it to see the snowflakes fly. I am thankful for our families who have rallied together to support each other, support our staff, and support our kids. Without the support and collaboration of our parents and families, none of the Herculean efforts that have been attempted the last 8 months could have occurred. I am thankful for our support staff, who are often behind the scenes making sure that our faculty can do their jobs with the kids. From our custodians who have worked tirelessly to keep schools clean, to our nurses who have the stress of making judgement calls every day, to the TA's and aides that are supporting students each and every day, to the bus drivers who get kids to and from school and often are the first individuals greeting a kid in the morning, to our clerical staff who often become the sounding board for upset parents when the call and lose their cool. There is not a single individual of our school community that has had to relearn their job in the last 8 months, and I am thankful and proud of all of them. Last, but certainly not least, I am thankful for our students, who in the face of tremendous adversity have proven that kids adapt better than adults, that they are more compassionate and caring than many adults give them credit for, and that school means more to a child than what many of us may have traditionally thought. Our students have provided the rest of us with the glimmer of hope that we all need to keep moving forward. Our students have proven that they have a voice, and it matters more than ever. As much as they need school, schools and school staff need our students more than ever to help us keep our eye on the prize. So as we enter this traditional holiday season, please reflect on the year (regardless of how badly we are all looking forward to 2021) and be appreciative of everyone within our school community who has gone above and beyond to help keep things moving in a new direction. Together, this is a wonderful school community, and I am thankful every day that I get to work for the students, staff, and families of Rome.
Cohort Adjustments for Holiday Weeks
For the upcoming shortened weeks, due to holiday recesses (Nov. 23-24 and Dec. 21-22), we will adjusting the in-person hybrid schedule for those days. Cohort 'A' students will attend school in-person on Monday, November 23 and Monday, December 21, while cohort 'B' students will attend school in-person on Tuesday, November 24 and Tuesday, December 22. These adjustments are for grades pre-k through 8 only. RFA students will continue to follow the current schedule due to BOCES courses and requirements with the BOCES.
NYSDOH COVID Toolkit
As a reminder, I would urge all parents and staff to review the NYSDOH COVID preK-12 toolkit. The information within the document is certainly information that schools have been asking for throughout the re-opening process. The document is extremely detailed and has many easy to read graphics which clearly outline when students and staff should not be attending schools. A complete copy of this document can be found here:
NYS Travel Rules - Reminder
This weekend, Governor Cuomo announced changes to the NYS travel restrictions. This will have an effect on students and staff in the coming weeks. Basics of the announcement are below and for more information, please visit his website at: https://www.governor.ny.gov/.
The new guidelines for travelers to test-out of the mandatory 14-day quarantine are below:
- For travelers who were in another state for more than 24 hours:
- Travelers must obtain a test within 3 days of departure from the state.
- Traveler must, upon arrival in NY, quarantine for 3 days.
- On day 4 of their quarantine, the traveler must obtain another COVID test. If both tests come back negative, the traveler may exit quarantine early upon receipt of the second negative diagnostic test.
- For travelers who were in another state for less than 24 hours:
- The traveler does not need a test prior to their departure from the other state, and does not need to quarantine upon arrival in NYS.
- However, the traveler. must fill out the traveler information form upon entry into NYS, and take a COVID diagnostic test 4 days after their arrival in NY.