2021-22 Community Health and Safety Protocols

Rippowam Cisqua School is taking proactive measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.

We are grateful that many of our COVID-19 restrictions from last year will prove to be more manageable and that the daily experience of our community will feel more normal than it did last year. Physical distancing in classrooms will allow for greater mobility, students will maneuver through the halls more freely, outdoor activities (including recess and outdoor classes) will be mask-free, interscholastic sports are returning, and we anticipate far more drama performance opportunities for all the students. In so many ways, this year should feel much lighter.
 
We are, though, acutely aware of the shifting dynamics of this virus, particularly its impact on children. Throughout last year, we consistently based our decisions on the expertise provided by scientists and medical professionals, and we will continue to do so this year. After much discussion internally, and with the full support of the Community Health and Safety Committee and the Board of Trustees, RCS has decided to implement the following requirements for the 2021-22 school year.
 
RCS is requiring the COVID-19 vaccine for all eligible community members ages 12 and older unless they have a documented medical or religious exemption. We expect that all eligible, non-vaccinated individuals will receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine within 14 days of the start of school. Students who turn 12 during the school year will be required to submit their proof of vaccination within two weeks. It is the School’s expectation that we will require the COVID-19 vaccine for younger children once federal approval is granted.

For families with questions about vaccine availability, please see https://www.vaccines.gov/.

 
RCS requires that all individuals inside the school buildings wear masks, except when they are eating. Students will not be required to wear masks outdoors at recess or in sports. Fabric masks should be three-ply and gaiters and bandanas are not considered acceptable face coverings.

 
PCR testing will be required for all community members at the opening of school. RCS will continue weekly surveillance testing. School year testing will be completed on-site as we did last year. We will continue to monitor the virus spread data in our direct community and in the greater Westchester County area to determine whether or not testing will continue for the duration of the school year.

 
At this time, no one other than students, faculty, and staff is permitted to enter the school building during the academic day. Parents, visitors, vendors, and external maintenance staff will only be able to enter the school building during non-school hours. Parent gatherings will be held either via Zoom or outside.


We have designed our classroom spaces to provide at least three feet of physical space between students. When masks are removed while eating, students will be six feet apart. Faculty, staff, and administration will be on hand to ensure that students do not gather in the hallways.

 
Students, faculty, and staff are required to stay home if they are unwell or are demonstrating any symptoms of COVID-19, or if they have had exposure to a positive person. Students and faculty with household members who are experiencing symptoms in their household should stay home as well.  A person who tests positive will be subject to isolation as required by the New York State Department of Health.

 
Hand sanitizer stations are available throughout the campus. In addition, we expect that everyone will wash their hands often and vigorously with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
 
 
The RCS ventilation system has been enhanced to provide an increased level of filtration (MERV 13 filters). While weather permits we will open all school windows and will use window fans to expel air from all occupied spaces.

 
Before leaving classrooms, students are asked to clean and wipe down their work area, including desks, tables, and keyboards. RCS is cleaned and sanitized daily and whenever additionally needed by our amazing Maintenance team that cares for our school and our community deeply.
 
 
Large gatherings such as student assemblies will take place outside or in spaces that allow for appropriate physical distancing three feet apart. Grade-level parent gatherings, parent orientations, and other similar events will be conducted outside or during non-school hours.

 
RCS will continue to offer snacks and lunch to all students in Kindergarten-Grade 9. Students in Grades 1-9 will select lunch in the Dining Hall’s servery. Kindergartners will be ordering box lunches and will eat in their classrooms with their teachers. Kindergarten parents will receive lunch order forms every Monday morning and their children’s selections must be returned by Wednesday each week.

COVID-19 Resources

Vaccine Availability

Testing Availability
https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/home (please be sure to get a PCR test)

Additional Resources

Delta Variant: What We Know About the Science,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website
 
Safety of COVID-19 Vaccines,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website
 
Face Masks,” American Academy of Pediatrics website

Communications

Rippowam Cisqua School
439 Cantitoe Street 
Bedford, NY 10506
phone: (914) 244-1250
Rippowam Cisqua School is a PreK-Grade 9 independent day school in Westchester County, New York. RCS offers challenging academics built on innovation, fine and performing arts, competitive athletics, wellness, leadership, service learning, and a wide selection of extracurricular activities.
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