Covid-19 Updates

COVID-19 Preparations

We continue to closely monitor the situation and take steps to ensure the health and safety of our community. Campus leaders are meeting regularly to review the rapidly changing situation, and decisions are being guided by the advice of medical professionals and the latest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). We will update this page with the latest information and announcements.  

Distance Learning - Academic Schedules

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Distance Learning - Upper School Priorities and Considerations

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  • Upper School Priorities and Considerations

    The best practice for distance learning with adolescent learners is to have a balanced and holistic experience. This will include both off-screen and on-screen learning activities designed to engage students. 
    The primary tools for communication between teachers and families will be the RCS Web Portal and email.
    Faculty will link material on the RCS Web Portal, Google Classroom, or directly into each student’s Google Drive.
    Email will be used to check in and follow up with individual students, but will not be used as the primary method to deliver instruction or to share assignments. 
    Learning experiences are designed to be completed independently, or in collaboration with other students. Family support should be limited, and tutoring is not recommended.
    Resources will vary by class and lesson, but faculty will be mindful of access and the developmental appropriateness of resources. 
    Students are encouraged to be proactive in reaching out to teachers when they have questions or if assignments are unclear. 

    Grade level deans, learning support, school counselor, technical support, and administration are always available to support students with academic, social, technological, or emotional needs.
  • Student Roles and Responsibilities

    • As is expected of an RCS student, be respectful of your peers, your teachers, and the learning environment – this does not change when the school location changes!
    • Establish daily routines for engaging in distance learning experiences – eat a good breakfast, get dressed in school appropriate clothes (uniform NOT required), organize your daily materials, and plan for study breaks.

    • Identify a comfortable and quiet space in your home where you can work effectively and successfully. This location will ideally have a desk or table, as well as a chair that allows you to sit upright.

    • Regularly monitor the RCS Web Portal and your Gmail to check for announcements, invitations to join video classes, and feedback from your teachers.

    • As always, do your best to meet commitments and due dates. If you are having difficulty, communicate with your teacher before the due date.

    • Complete assignments with integrity and academic honesty – all we ask for is your best work!

    • Collaborate and support your RCS peers in their learning.

    • Be flexible and patient with this new learning environment – students and teachers will gain mastery of distance learning at different speeds, and it is our responsibility to support each other through this process. Learning requires a willingness to adapt, and this is a great opportunity to put that into practice!
  • Schedule – Learning Times and Goals

    • Engagementsocial interaction, and feedback will be our guiding principles. We strive to do this while retaining the authentic RCS experience – to develop independent thinkers, confident communicators, and engaged leaders.

    • 50-75 minutes per day, per core academic class. This will be the total time of both synchronous and asynchronous learning.  

    • Access and equity – students who might not have access to technology or an internet connection at those specific times should contact teachers for support.

    • The Upper School academic goal is to maintain connections, effectively communicate, and provide access to curriculum.
  • Parent Guidelines and Support

    • Establish routines and expectations, and begin and end each day with a check-in.

    • Define the physical space for your child’s work area – take as active a role as possible in helping your child process their learning, while encouraging them to reach out to their teachers for support.

    • Monitor student communications and work regularly, and monitor how much time your child is spending online.

    • Encourage physical activity and exercise, and establish times in the day for quiet and reflection.

    • Remain mindful of your child’s stress or worry.

    • Keep your children social, but set rules around their social media interactions.

    • Be patient with yourself, your child, the teachers, and the administration as this is a new way of learning for all of us!

Distance Learning - Lower School Philosophy, Plan, and Overview

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  • Lower School Philosophy for Distance Learning

    The RCS Lower School is driven by a loving community of dedicated educators who strive to translate our students’ joy for learning to all educational environments. Our caring, professional teachers are designing learning experiences that will keep your students engaged and enriched. Through flexible daily schedules that will adapt to families’ different schedules, we will create connected learning opportunities for students to engage with each other and their teachers. 
    We have put together a plan for faculty to continue academic programming through a virtual platform. The policies and expectations below serve as a roadmap to ensure the overarching goals of connecting our community, offering consistency, and providing individual feedback for students. 
    We are in this together.
  • Overview

    Every evening, teachers will email families their student’s individual daily schedule that will contain an invitation to connect to the Zoom call or calls they will need for the following morning. The email will also have your student’s schedule for the day, which is meant to provide structure, but has built-in flexibility so it can be implemented in a way that makes sense for your household. 
    Part 1: Full Class Morning Meeting 
    Every morning at 9:00 a.m. students will join a synchronous connection (those times when students connect via video at the same time) through a morning meeting that will take place using Zoom. 

    Students should make every effort to join these meeting times. The morning meeting will be the main synchronous whole class connection and teachers will be using those times to offer direct instruction and establish their classroom communities.
    Part 2: Independent Work Blocks
    Your child’s schedule will be individualized by their classroom teacher and will consist of math, writing, reading, and a specialist block each day. Links will be provided on the schedule and we encourage our older students to try navigating those links on their own by week two. 
    Part 3: Small Group Connections
    In addition to the 9:00 a.m. morning meeting time, your student’s teacher will add another small group synchronous time each week to add a more personal connection for assessing learning, growth, and to provide students an opportunity to connect with a smaller group of peers. We will start phase two the week of April 13. 
  • Plan

    We have had the opportunity to look at, and learn from, independent schools across the country who have been implementing their own remote learning plans. Their advice is to start slow and build up so that students, families, and faculty have time to adjust to this new way of learning and for students to build independence. Therefore, our Lower School remote learning plan will begin with three components: full class morning meetings, small group peer connections, and daily independent work blocks.

Distance Learning - Frequently Asked Questions

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Information Letters from the Head of School

The School is providing parents with the most timely and accurate information possible during this rapidly changing situation. These updates were also shared with faculty and staff.

Coronavirus Update - February 28, 2020

Coronavirus Update - March 3, 2020

Coronavirus Update - March 6, 2020

Coronavirus Update - March 10, 2020

Coronavirus Update - March 17, 2020

Medical Information Resources

Health Precautions
Please be extra vigilant in practicing good health habits to reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission during this time. Be especially mindful not to share personal items, including drinks, utensils, etc. 

Here are other important precautions to take:
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, avoid crowded spaces, including classes and public events.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Medical Information Resources

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

World Health Organization

NY State Department of Health

National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS)
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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