Happy New Year – Welcome Back!

Members of the Rensselaer City School District Community:

Happy New Year! We are looking forward to welcoming students back from break on Monday, January 3rd. Hopefully everyone has spent safe, relaxing, and rejuvenating time with family and friends over the holidays.

The news has been full of information about an Omicron variant surge of COVID-19 recently.  Although numbers in our district have not yet indicated an increase, we are working to prepare for this seasonal surge.  As you may recall, we saw a similar issue last January.  The goal of the district is to safely remain open for in-person learning.  Athletes – don’t forget our Monday morning screening process.  Please be sure to space appropriately and wear your mask properly while waiting.

The Governor has pledged millions of test kits to school districts through their local Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES).  We expect to be able to pick our allotment up on Monday.  Our hoppe is to make those tests available to parents as an additional voluntary screening tool and as part of our community’s ongoing surveillance efforts to ensure your children are not carrying the virus. These are also a tool in the event that they become symptomatic. As a reminder, students should stay home from school if they are presenting any symptoms of COVID-19. The district will continue to make Point of Care testing available (with parental permission) within the schools should students become symptomatic while at school.

After receiving the kits on Monday, we will establish a process for families to obtain them. We will send out communication regarding the process and schedule to obtain test kits once we have adequate information to do so.

At-Home Testing Procedures

  • The at-home test kits provide results within 15 minutes. Instructions are included in the test kits.
  • Anyone who tests positive on an at-home test should immediately report their results to the school and begin isolating. Students testing positive using an at-home test kit must complete a lab-confirmed COVID test. Please visit https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/find-test-site-near-you to find a nearby testing site or contact your pediatrician.
  • Students who test positive must isolate for 10 days and can return to school on day 11 if there is symptom resolution. At this time, individuals cannot test out of quarantine or isolation.

Test to Stay Update

Last week, the state updated guidance on Test to Stay to reduce the number of students and staff who would be excluded from school following a COVID-19 exposure. At this time, our local health department is reviewing and assessing the equity and feasibility of this Test to Stay strategy. Local school districts and Questar III BOCES will continue to monitor local conditions in partnership with our local health departments.

10-Day Quarantine Policy

The New York State Department of Health has not yet adopted the CDC recommendation on shortening quarantine and isolation for the general population, including PK-12 students. We will continue to look to our local Department of Health for guidance with any of these changes.

We have been notified of 3 more staff members and 1 student that have tested positive for COVID-19 over the break.  Please remember to send students to school with a mask and to keep the kids home if they have any signs or symptoms of COVID-19.  We will get through this together.


Posted in District.