Return to School Update 2/26/2021

Parents & Guardians:
 
Rockcastle County Schools, in cooperation with the Rockcastle County Board of Education, has decided to expand in-person instruction for the remainder of the school year. Beginning March 15, all elementary, middle and high school in-person students will be in attendance every day, Monday through Thursday. Fridays will remain a virtual learning day (NTI) for all students. This will allow us to deliver meals, connect with our MyRock Online students, and bring in struggling students for targeted assistance. On Tuesday, March 9, all juniors at Rockcastle County High School will be taking the ACT. On this day, they will be the only students in attendance on our high school campus. All other high school students will be on virtual learning (NTI) for the day. Elementary schools and the middle school (Students with last name M-Z) will be in person on our A/B schedule on March 9th.
 
Our decision to return to a more intensive in-person learning model was made based on several factors, including current trends in positive cases and quarantines and vaccine distribution. For the past several weeks, we have seen a decline in the number of students and staff who have tested positive for COVID-19. On March 5th, all staff will have had the opportunity to obtain both rounds of the Moderna vaccine, and we are hopeful that this will reduce the number of positive cases and quarantines so that we can increase face-to-face time with our students.
 
We ask for your support and cooperation in helping us to maintain this expanded schedule. Please keep your children at home if they exhibit any symptoms of COVID-19 including fever, cough, and/or loss of taste and smell. We also need you to notify your school if your child tests positive or has been exposed to a positive case. Please encourage your children to follow masking and sanitation procedures.
 
All health and safety protocols are still in place, including masking, sanitizing and temperature checks. We will also do our best to implement social distancing in our classrooms and buildings to the greatest extent possible. We will continue to provide masks at every school for students who need them, as they will be required to be worn by all students and staff during the school day.
 
We have also taken measures to upgrade our ventilation systems throughout the district. All of our campuses now use MERV 13 filters as part of their HVAC systems. This enhances the filtration system’s ability to capture contaminants that are airborne, including COVID 19. Every day, fresh air is continuously pumped into all of our buildings while stagnant air is pumped out. All schools have maximum fresh air flow 24 hours per day.
 
If our positive cases and quarantine numbers begin to rise to a point that it becomes unsafe to operate, we will move individual campuses or the entire district back to virtual learning. If we have high numbers of staff cases and quarantines, we will not have enough substitutes for both certified and classified positions to run our schools, and will be forced to return to virtual learning. The cooperation of all staff, students and parents in following health and safety guidelines will help us to maintain consistent, in-person learning.
 
If you need to change your child’s current mode of learning from MyRock Online to in-person instruction or from in-person instruction to MyRock Online, please contact your child’s principal by March 12th. No changes will be considered after this date, as spacing considerations must be accounted for.
 
This past year has been incredibly challenging for everyone, and we genuinely appreciate the cooperation and patience of our RCS family in balancing the health and safety of our students, staff and the entire community.
 
Sincerely,
Superintendent Carrie Ballinger
return to school update march 2021

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