RCS CARES ABOUT YOUR SAFETY!
2021-2022 School Year
Important Information for RCS Families and Staff

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RCS Cares About Your Safety!

2021-2022 Plan

 

UPDATE on 09-21-21: RCS received updated guidance and we are now permitted to implement shortened quarantine criteria! Please see the summary here!

Please see below for the RCS Cares About Your Safety Plan 2021-2022. The plan emphasizes that in-person learning is the top priority and also highlights safety precautions that provide a safe and healthy environment for our students, staff, and schools.  The RCS Board of Education reviewed and approved the plan and voted at the August 9th Board of Education Meeting at 6:00 p.m.  We look forward to a great year for our students! 

Please see this link to review the RCS Cares About Your Safety Plan 2021-2022.  You may also view it below in the opened google document (A traditional computer may be needed to view the opened google image below in the full form. If you are on a mobile device, you may want use the link above.) Thank you!

Current Public Health Guidance

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Guidance

 

RCS will continue to follow the StrongSchoolsNC Toolkit and we will continue to make ongoing adjustments and modifications based on information from our local health department, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), and North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI). We appreciate our partnerships with our local health department and other local medical providers as well as we continue to navigate our way through COVID-19.

 

Center For Disease Control Guidance

 

On July 9, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued updated Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in K-12 Schools. Key takeaways include: 

 

  • Students benefit from in-person learning, and safely returning to in-person instruction in the fall 2021 is a priority. 

  • Vaccination is currently the leading public health prevention strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic. Promoting vaccination can help schools safely return to in-person learning as well as extracurricular activities and sports.

  • Masks should be worn indoors by all individuals (age 2 and older) who are not fully vaccinated. Consistent and correct mask use by people who are not fully vaccinated is especially important indoors and in crowded settings, when physical distancing cannot be maintained. 

  • Many schools serve children under the age of 12 who are not currently eligible for vaccination. Therefore, this guidance emphasizes implementing layered prevention strategies, (e.g., using multiple prevention strategies together consistently) to protect people who are not fully vaccinated, including students, teachers, staff, and other members of their households. 

  • Localities should monitor community transmission, vaccination coverage, screening testing, and occurrence of outbreaks to guide decisions on the level of layered prevention strategies.

 

The CDC’s revised school guidance is supported by an accompanying Science Brief, which summarizes the research of COVID-19 among children and adolescents and transmission in schools and among students, families, teachers, and school staff used to shape the updated school guidance.

 

UPDATE from CDC as of July 27, 2021:  To prevent further spread of the Delta variant, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its mask guidance on Tuesday to recommend that fully vaccinated people wear masks indoors when in areas with "substantial" and "high" transmission of Covid-19, which includes nearly two-thirds of all US counties. The CDC reported that they have observed new scientific data from recent outbreak investigations showing that the Delta variant behaves uniquely differently from past strains of the virus that cause Covid-19.  The CDC reported that the new science was concerning and unfortunately warrants an update to our recommendations.  This new unpublished data showing that vaccinated people infected with the Delta coronavirus variant can have as much virus as those who are unvaccinated is the primary driver for the CDC's latest mask guidance change. In addition, it was noted that the two other factors that led to this decision by the CDC were: the prevalence of the Delta variant and low vaccine uptake.  When the CDC previously revised its guidance on May 13 for vaccinated people to unmask, Delta only represented 1% of reported infections. Now, according to the CDC, it represents at least 83% of cases.

 

American Academy of Pediatrics Guidance

Additionally, on July 19, 2021, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released updated guidance for schools that recommends the implementation of a multi-pronged layered approach to reduce viral transmission, including universal masking. The AAP recommendations include: 

  • All eligible individuals should receive the COVID-19 vaccine. 

  • It may become necessary for schools to collect COVID-19 vaccine information of staff and students (as done for other immunizations against other highly infectious diseases). 

  • Adequate and timely COVID-19 vaccination resources for the whole school community must be available and accessible. 

  • All students older than 2 years and all school staff should wear face masks at school (unless medical or developmental conditions prohibit use). 

  • The AAP recommends universal masking in school at this time for the following reasons:  

    • a significant portion of the student population is not eligible for vaccination  protection of unvaccinated students from COVID-19 and to reduce transmission;

    • lack of a system to monitor vaccine status among students, teachers and staff;

    • potential difficulty in monitoring or enforcing mask policies for those who are not vaccinated; in the absence of schools being able to conduct this monitoring, universal masking is the best and most effective strategy to create consistent messages, expectations, enforcement, and compliance without the added burden of needing to monitor vaccination status;  

    • possibility of low vaccination uptake within the surrounding school community  continued concerns for variants that are more easily spread among children, adolescents, and adults;

    • An added benefit of universal masking is protection of students and staff against other respiratory illnesses that would take time away from school.