Happy New Year to everyone out there!! I hope that the past several weeks have found you all well and enjoying time with your family, however, I know that reality is that COVID has begun to affect more of us on a very personal level, making each day a struggle. There are many good things to look forward to as we enter 2021, despite the extreme rise in cases in our region and community. With the vaccine on the horizon for our adults, it should help reduce the community spread issues that we have been seeing. Also, we are a few months away from getting back to the outdoors and better weather that is less conducive for illness to thrive. Finally, we are smarter and wiser regarding the whole situation, which should lead to improved outcomes as we work together to get life back to normal. 2021 will certainly begin with it's trials and challenges, but it won't be long before the tides turn and the things begin to resemble a world we once knew. There is a lot to look forward to in the coming year for our students and our community. Most importantly, none of us would have made it through the disaster that 2020 turned out to be without the help of others and by sticking together. Hopefully, this is a feature and a lesson that will not be forgotten as we move through the future. Working together, trying to understand other perspectives, and having faith in others are all things that can help groups/organizations overcome any challenge, whether facing good times or bad. We have always had a community that supports their children and wants the absolute best for their future. We have come a long way in the last 9 months and we have a few more hurdles to jump in order to get things on the path of normalcy. As we welcome 2021, as tired as everyone is of the world we've been forced into, let's not forget the reasons we are still able to be moving forward. Unity and determination is our strong point. Together, we can move out of the COVID era into a world that is superior than the one we once knew pre-2020. The opportunities in front of us are endless as we welcome in 2021!
Reopening of School
Tomorrow, Monday, January 4, 2021, all schools and all classes within the Rome City School District will reopen in a full remote model. Students and staff will follow the same remote schedule that was being followed prior to the holiday recess. We will continue in the full remote model until further notice.
Return to Hybrid Learning
Prior to the recess, the district entered a complete remote learning model until at least January 11, 2021. At this point, we will be making further decisions by the end of this week as to when we can expect to have students back in buildings. Currently, positive infection rates are at an all time high and it is unlikely that we can safely have students back in buildings at the moment. Along with this, in order for students to return to hybrid learning, we will need to test 20% of all students and staff in our buildings. In any event, more information will be forthcoming by the end of the week.
Yellow Zone Requirements
As you know, the Rome City School District is currently located within one of New York State's Yellow Zone COVID regions. As mentioned, the largest implication for our district in this zone is the requirements to test 20% of our in-person students and staff in every one of our 10 educational facilities. We will have 2 weeks from the date of students returning to hybrid learning to conduct the testing. If our local positivity rates are below the regional averages, then the school will not need to test a second time in order to remain open. All testing will be completed on a volunteer basis and no student or staff member will be required to test without parent permission or consent. More information regarding the testing process and the obtaining of consent will be coming this week.