Members of the Rensselaer City School District Community:
I have a few important announcements to share with you.
We have been notified that a remote Jr/Sr High School student has been diagnosed with COVID-19. This person has not been in the building and poses no new risk or exposure in the building.
Bringing more students in for both weeks:
As you know, our district has been continuously improving our hybrid plan this year. So far, we have managed to bring grades 1, 2, & 3 in for both weeks. The stakeholders on the reopening team have reviewed the latest NYS guidance on reducing distancing in classrooms from 6ft to as little as 3ft in an effort to bring more students into the building. We are happy to officially announce that after public input at our April Board of Education meeting last night, we will also be able to welcome grades K, 4, 5, & 6 back for both weeks beginning on Monday, 5/3.
There are some important details to understand with this new change:
- No changes to current schedules or times will be required.
- Mask flexibility and breaks remains the same in all classrooms that still can maintain at least 6ft of distance, but any classroom with less distance will be required to wear masks at all times per the NYS guidance.
- Students will still need a minimum of 6ft spacing when masks are required to be removed (meals/snacks).
- As the weather continues to improve, any opportunities for outdoor learning activities will be encouraged.
More detailed specifics of the changes will be published in the reopening plan, but we wanted to get this notification out to the community as soon as possible. Expect more details and reminders in the coming week.
At this time, our school is not eligible for reduced distancing in 7-12 due to the cohorting requirements in a “High Risk Transmission” county. Rensselaer County, like most counties in New York, is currently designated as a “High Risk Transmission” area based on CDC metrics. We are prepared to make that change as soon as our county is given permission.
Adopted budget for public vote:
The Board of Education also adopted a 2021-22 budget for public approval. We are excited to announce that due to the generous state aid allotment and several other factors outlined in the budget presentation, the district is able to put forth a budget that includes athletics and extracurricular activities with an 8.8% increase in taxes. While this is still a sizable increase, it is far less than what was proposed last year. A new budget page will be created on the website with resources to understand the budget and finances of the district as we did last year. Meghan Heimroth and I will also be available to meet with groups in the city that are interested in having a conversation and learning more. We hope to provide any resource and opportunity that we can to allow voters to make an informed decision. Please feel free to reach out to me directly with any questions or request for a group presentation.