The Rome City School District is getting ready to welcome kids back to the classroom, physically and virtually. School officials are working on building a plan that focuses on health and safety while educating students.

The Rome City School District has identified five principles to guide planning for the reopening of our schools in 2020-2021.

1. Ensure the safe and healthy learning and working environments for our students and staff.
2. Maximize family choice in student learning format by offering two options for instruction, while reducing the burden of child care needs for our community.
3. Ensure all students receive instruction that meets state and federal standards, while providing the necessary supports to achieve maximum growth.
4. Provide training, time, support, and flexibility necessary for staff to prepare for reopening and continued success throughout 2020-2021.
5. Provide proactive, clear communication (with translations) to all families and staff, through multiple communication mediums.

Any student returning to school will have to meet the following requirements:

  • All students and staff must have their temperature taken before entering school.
  • All students and staff must wash their hands upon entering school and will be required to wash their hands throughout the day.
  • All staff must submit a daily health screening assessment related to contact with COVID-19, students must periodically (weekly) submit the same.
  • Once students enter a classroom with a group, movement throughout the building will be restrictive. Lunch may be eaten in the classroom. Students must be socially distanced in the hallways and in classrooms. This most likely means between 10-12 students per class.
  • Share of supplies will be strictly discouraged. If supplies are shared, then they must be cleaned between use.
  • Staff will be provided with cloth masks and a face shield, students will be provided a cloth mask. We will have a stock of paper masks available for both students and staff.
  • Masks must be worn by staff at all times while working with students. Students are required to wear masks while moving throughout the building or when social distancing is not possible.
  • Hand sanitizing stations will be available in all classrooms.
  • Transportation will be provided, however, students must wear a mask at all times and be social distanced on a bus. Hand sanitizer is not permitted on school buses due to the flammability.
  • Meals will be served to all students regardless of if they are in-person or virtual learning students. However, as of now, meals will no longer continue to be free of charge for students. Families must submit the traditional Free and Reduced Lunch Application to re-qualify for this benefit.

Virtual learning will be available for any student/family that desires it. In-person learning for all students PreK through grade 6 will also be available for families comfortable with sending kids to school. "Knowing childcare is a huge barrier for a lot of families, we intend to offer full in-person learning opportunities for our elementary students, 5 days a week," said Superintendent Peter Blake. "As we develop those schedules and review our options for space throughout the district, we will then address the secondary students. One of the main concerns related to our secondary students is the lack of socialization that online learning provides. For this reason, if we have the space to allow for secondary students to attend in-person, we will most likely use this time for clubs, activities, socialization, and tutoring for those students who desire it."

ATHLETICS AND OTHER EXTRA CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES: The NYSPHAA announced the fall sports season will begin no earlier than September 21, 2020. Rome City Schools will take the same approach to all extra curricular activities for the sake of consistency and reducing additional activity in the buildings. It is likely all Rome City School District buildings will be closed for cleaning at a certain time in the late afternoon with no allowance of outside groups or school groups in buildings during the evening hours.

VISITORS AND BUILDING USE: Visitors will be drastically reduced throughout the coming school year. Any parent/guardian that needs to pick a child up from school will be required to wait in their vehicle while the student is escorted out to the car, unless of a severe emergency, in which case the goal would be to connect the parent/guardian with the child as soon as possible.

All parent meetings will be held virtually to help reduce the possibility of exposure and minimize cleaning requirements for the staff. Any individual permitted into a building will be required to wear a mask and to have a temperature screening and complete the health assessment survey.

A new webpage that will be solely dedicated to information regarding a return to school in September is being worked on. There is also an email address dedicated specifically for questions related to the reopening of schools. Please submit questions you may have to rcsdreopening@romecsd.org.

The school district plans are not completed and submitted until July 31, 2020. As soon as the plan is approved by the DOH and NYSED, details will be released to the community.

Read more on Rome's plans to reopen school online.