Let's Keep Moving...
As we enter our fourth week of hybrid learning, there has been no shortage of bumps, road blocks, bruises, challenges, adversity, you name it. At the same time, there has also been an equal (if not greater) amount of triumph, teamwork, perseverance, and success. There is no doubt that schools everywhere (including Rome) are doing their best to get by and make the best of tough situations in an ever changing environment. There is not a single member of our school community from student, to parent, to staff member that has not been greatly affected by this pandemic. However, each and every day people come together in an attempt to bring whatever sense of normalcy we can muster. No one knows where the next. few weeks and months are going to bring us. There is going to be a host of people who believe that the only way to do things is to shut everything down again like the spring, while there is going to be an equal number of people who believe that some are still overreacting to the whole situation and we should just get back to the way things once were. Regardless of which side of the fence you sit on, we are all in this together. There is no single solution that is helpful for everyone. No matter which direction things go, there will be negative outcomes for many. What needs to happen is that we all need to attempt to at the very least understand and respect the opinions and positions of others. The entire pandemic has polarized our community, but it does not have to. For those that are pushing for everything in school to be completely remote, please understand that decision will force people out of work and there is no current extended unemployment benefit for those individuals. Essentially, closing schools can devastate a community. On the other side, those that firmly believe schools should stay open and/or increase the number of kids in school, please understand that this direction causes possible increases in exposure for this virus and requires school staff to do things and operate in an environment that they have never had to think about before. There is no perfect situation. Worse than that, both groups need to understand the current financial situations facing public schools in New York State. For the first time in a long time, public schools are going to be required to view their establishment as a business first. Rome alone stands to lose upwards of $20 million in revenue this coming year. A school closure will result in mass lay-offs to make ends meet for now and the future. Now, more than ever, we need to be together, stay together, support each other, and do our best to respect the process and situation, knowing that we all have a role within that process and situation. We don't all have the same information, don't have access to the same information, and don't have the need to have the same information. If we all focus on our task, then as a whole, as a team, we will be successful. It may seem like we are going through hell right now, but as Winston Churchill once said, "If you're going through hell, keep going." We don't control much right now, but we do control our minds and how we treat each other. Rise to the top and let's get through this together.
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.
PreK Return - Reminder
This week, we will be welcoming back our Pre-K students for in-person learning. Pre-K students whose families have indicated that they wanted in-person learning will return to school for their first day on Monday, November 16. Pre-K students will follow the same hybrid schedule as the elementary schools and more information, including details, will be provided to families through the building and teachers directly.
Great American Rivalry - VOTE
Rome Free Academy football standout Tommy Dunn is one of 144 high school athletes in the United States who has an opportunity to be recognized by the Great American Rivalry Series and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The 2020 Great American Rivalry Series Scholar Athlete Hall of Fame Team is now in our hands! NOW is the time for our community to support RFA and Tommy to help him secure a spot on the GARS Scholar Athlete Hall of Fame roster. In the end, 25 students nationally will be recognized. Please vote and vote often in support of our hometown athlete, Tommy Dunn. For more information, including casting a vote, please visit their webpage at: https://greatamericanrivalry.com/2020-scholar-athlete-hall-of-fame-voting/.