Welcome Back Message from RHPS

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August 26, 2022 

Dear Students, Families, and Staff,

We hope that everyone experienced a relaxing and enjoyable summer. We want to take this opportunity to welcome everyone back for what promises to be a rewarding and productive 2022-23 school year. As you know, students will report for the first day of school on Thursday, September 1, 2022.  

Last evening, the administrative leadership team presented a number of important updates to the Board of Education and we are writing today in order to share that information with you: 

With respect to COVID-19 protocols, we are following the guidelines promulgated by the Connecticut State Department of Public Health. The overarching emphasis is to “maximize in-person learning” for all students. We fully embrace the concept that in-person attendance provides students with the greatest potential to achieve academically while also promoting social, emotional, and physical well-being. In accordance with this concept, please note the following:

  • Staff or students with mild respiratory symptoms, no fever, and no known COVID-19 cases in the household may continue to participate in school with a negative COVID-19 test.

  • Individuals with a fever should not report to school until the fever has resolved for at least 24 hours (without the use of fever reducing medication) and such individuals must also test negative for COVID-19.

  • District personnel will be working with parents and guardians to obtain permission to administer COVID-19 tests in the school setting to students who present with mild symptoms - with the understanding that a negative test result will allow the student to remain in school.

  • School nurses will not, under any circumstance, administer a COVID-19 test without the consent of the parent or guardian.

  • Individuals testing positive for COVID-19 will be required to remain at home for the duration of the recommended isolation period.

  • The district will no longer be placing students or staff into quarantine following potential exposure to an individual with COVID-19.

  • Masks will continue to remain optional for students and staff in all settings (e.g., classrooms, buses, athletic activities).

  • The district’s COVID-19 dashboard will no longer reflect quarantine information as the district will not be placing students or staff into quarantine. The number of positive cases (students and staff) will be updated on the dashboard, once per week, when those data are reported to the State Department of Public Health. 

For your convenience, we have attached the powerpoint presentation that was reviewed with the Board last evening.  We will also post this information on the district’s website. Covid-19 Protocols and Procedures 2022-2023  Any parent or guardian with specific questions regarding COVID-19 protocols for school year 2022-23 is encouraged to contact their child’s school nurse. 

In other areas, we are pleased to report that the school district has received additional federal money (approximately $400,000) under the American Rescue Plan Act’s Free School Meals for Children provision. The intent of this program is to provide families with a transitional period during which all students will continue to receive school meals at no cost until the funds are exhausted. We anticipate that the funding will carry the district until some point in November, at which time families that do not fall below the financial threshold for free or reduced-price meals will once again be charged (we will notify everyone in advance of the expiration of funds). In the meantime, we strongly encourage families that do qualify for free or reduced-price meals to complete and submit the application now so that their children are not charged once the funds are exhausted. 

Additionally, last week, the business office distributed a communication to all families regarding the Stopfinder app. Stopfinder affords parents and guardians the ability to securely view the location of their child’s bus in relation to the assigned stop and route; moreover, special notifications and updates regarding schedule changes are provided via the app. Any parent or guardian with questions regarding the extension of the free meals program or Stopfinder is encouraged to contact our assistant superintendent for finance and operations, Mr. Charles Zettergren, at 860-258-3175.

In closing, we once again want to acknowledge all members of the Rocky Hill Public Schools community for your continued support. Collectively, we have worked together to demonstrate a great deal of strength and perseverance since the onset of the pandemic well over two years ago. We are particularly proud of the efforts of our students who have excelled academically (as measured by SBAC and SAT results) and continued to outperform their peers in similarly situated communities. Their success is clearly a byproduct of great support at home coupled with the outstanding efforts of their dedicated, caring, and skilled teachers. 

Best wishes for a wonderful weekend. We look forward to seeing everyone next week!

Respectfully, 

Brian A. Dillon, Chairman, Rocky Hill Board of Education

Mark Zito, Ed.D., Superintendent of Schools