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COVID-19 Yellow Zone Information

Much of Monroe County has been placed in a Yellow Zone due to positive cases of COVID-19 above the governor's threshold. Below is information shared with district families and employees through Superintendent Bo Wright's E-News messages.

Thursday, November 12 E-News 

R-H: COVID-19 Testing Update

Dear Rush-Henrietta Families and Employees,

I recently shared that local school districts, including Rush-Henrietta, have been impacted by New York’s Micro-Cluster strategy, which is designed to limit the local spread of COVID-19. 

With much of Monroe County in what is referred to as a Yellow Zone, the state is requiring local school districts to conduct COVID-19 testing. Each week, school districts will need to test students and employees. This group must constitute 20 percent of the employees and students who come to campus on either a full-or part-time basis. Although we were given little time to prepare, we have learned more about how this will work and I have new details to share.

The Monroe County Department of Public Health tells us testing begins Monday, November 16, and will be provided at no cost. We hope families will allow their children to participate, but it is not mandatory. Parents need to formally consent to student testing. We are asking all of our hybrid families to complete this form for each of their children by noon Monday, November 16. Simply fill out the demographic information and tell us whether or not you consent to testing.

Health officials describe these tests as less-invasive, shallow, nasal tests. Testing will be done at school by trained medical personnel who have been hired by the district for this purpose. The results from tests performed at school will be shared with parents. Parents also have the option to have their child tested off-site and provide a copy of the results to their school nurse-teacher.

School communities that are unable to meet the 20 percent threshold may be required by the state to go fully remote. For that reason, we hope that many of our students participate. I know this is an intensely personal decision for many people and we will respect the decision made by your family. Please tell us where you stand as soon as possible by submitting this form.

We remain in very unpredictable times. With the COVID-19 positivity rate rising quickly, we all need to be prepared for the possibility that schools may be forced by the state to go fully remote if our region moves from the Yellow Zone to the Orange Zone. Should that happen, it would remain business as usual for our Remote Learning Academy students. However, hybrid students would not come to school. They would learn from home. We have outlined what those changes would look like in this plan, which we encourage you to review. 

Thank you for your continued support.

Sincerely,

Lawrence Bo Wright
Superintendent

 

Tuesday, November 10 E-News 

R-H: Explaining the COVID-19 Yellow Zone

Dear Rush-Henrietta Families and Employees,

You may have heard about New York’s Micro-Cluster strategy, which is designed to limit the local spread of COVID-19. You can read more about that here. Yesterday, we learned most of Monroe County, including the Rush-Henrietta Central School District, is now in what the state has labeled a Yellow Zone. 

What Does ‘Yellow Zone’ Mean for Schools?
The Yellow Zone designation requires school districts to conduct COVID-19 testing for at least 20 percent of hybrid students and employees each week until the daily average positivity rate decreases in Monroe County. Students in Rush-Henrietta’s Remote Learning Academy, as well as staff members who do not come to campus, are exempt from this testing.

The state might require testing to begin as early as Monday, November 16. Parents can request that their child not be tested. It is our intent to provide an online method later this week for parents of hybrid students to express consent or refusal. School districts that are unable to meet the 20 percent threshold may be required by the state to go fully remote.

Superintendents were first briefed about the possibility of a Yellow Zone just five days ago. After meeting with county officials, unanswered questions remain. I will be able to share more detailed information with you later this week.

School Districts Want to Remain Open
I mentioned in a recent E-News that social media use might be one reason our collective anxieties are running high. That observation seems to be accurate, as rumors swirl that districts in Monroe County are purposely preparing to transition to fully remote learning. If this transition were to happen, it would not be our choice. 

To the contrary, we are busy doing everything we can to enhance the systems we have in place. We received about 1,800 responses to our survey asking for parent feedback on our hybrid and remote-learning models, and are reviewing those responses now. In addition, we have shared a process for families to make learning commitments for the second semester. If you missed my E-News about choosing your child’s learning model for the second half of the school year, please click here for the details. With schedules for more than 5,200 students in play, we need to hear from you by Friday, November 20, even if you are not planning to switch learning programs. 

It’s been an unpredictable year and we know circumstances can change quickly. However, I can assure you Rush-Henrietta would not be spending so much time reviewing results of our parent survey and making preparations for the second semester if we were planning to go fully remote.

To that end, please remember that masking and physical-distancing strategies are working and have allowed us to offer our hybrid program for the past two months. Please continue to make every effort to help keep our community as safe as possible. 

Our sincere desire is to see your child in our schools more often, not less. 

Sincerely,

Lawrence Bo Wright
Superintendent