Dear Rondout Families, Faculty and Staff,
Happy President's Day !!! As we prepare for the long weekend, I would like to wish all of our families an enjoyable few days and hope that wind and weather don't play havoc with your plans.
I would also like to share the most recent developments in the Appellate Court ruling regarding certain COVID mitigations. Just before midnight yesterday, the Appellate Court issued its decision on the appeal of the February 4, 2022 TRO enjoining the Governor from enforcing certain COVID-19 mitigation measures including universal masking. With one Judge dissenting, the Appellate Court dismissed the appeal as moot against the state defendants based on JCAR’s refusal to extend IDPH Emergency Rules regarding masking, exclusion, and vaccine and testing requirements in schools. Because the emergency rules are no longer in effect, the circuit court judge’s decision finding the rules null and void was determined to be moot.
As I informed the parent community on Wednesday, February 16, 2022, Rondout would change its COVID mitigation protocols to masking recommended but not required which allows parents to make the choice with their child regarding wearing a mask while at school. After a review of our metrics, the progress made in transition activities with students and last night’s ruling, Rondout will now move to the new masking protocols on Tuesday, February 22, 2022 instead of on Wednesday.
All other mitigations will remain in effect. Voluntary testing will still be available. The Shield testing program does require that individuals testing wear a mask when coming into the testing area and at this time we will need to honor that requirement in order for us to be able to continue having this resource available for our families and faculty. If your child is on the regular Shield testing roster, we will plan to continue their participation unless we hear from you via email by 8 a.m. on Tuesday morning February 22, 2022.
Masking will also be required for children riding the school bus based on federal legislation. Students will need to wear a mask when getting on the bus and while riding to and from school.
Positive cases will still be required to isolate out of school for a minimum of 5 days and will be required to wear a mask at school for through day 10. Contact tracing will continue but close contacts will not be excluded from school unless symptoms develop or they have a positive test result. Parents will be notified if their child was exposed to a positive case at school. Students and staff exhibiting COVID19 symptoms should remain at home or will be sent home. They can return with a negative COVID test. Positive cases will continue to be reported to the Lake County Health Department.
Physical distancing will still be maintained as much as possible and we will continue with our daily cleaning and sanitizing. Good hand hygiene and the use of hand sanitizer will continue to be stressed for all.
At this point in time we have no positive cases to report and an analysis of vaccination rates for students and staff (along with data on numbers of individuals who have had COVID result in an 83% rate of individuals covered by vaccination or by having had COVID19 within the last 90 days. We will continue to monitor local metrics moving forward and parents will be informed when we have positive cases.
There have been good conversations with students across the grade so we anticipate continued positive behavior from our students. As we move to this next phase of living with COVID19, we ask that parents work with us to support the message of tolerance for the various choices that families and faculty will make regarding masking at school.
Each family/faculty situation is different and it will be important to respect everyone’s choices. If you have any special concerns or situations we should be aware of, I ask that you reach out via email so that we can work through those situations.
Further details about future adjustments will be shared as we move forward including adjustments to school-wide activities and events during the last trimester. Please feel free to reach out with additional questions as they arise. I will be available over the long weekend via email should you have time sensitive questions or concerns.
Thank you to all our parents, faculty/staff and students who have continued to keep the Rondout Way alive in our day to day life at school. We look forward to a successful transition.
Take care…Until next time…
Dr. Jenny Wojcik