Rye City schools reported just days ago that spring break would be held as planned next week. No such luck – everyone just got a new homework assignment from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Break is cancelled and school will be in session, per executive order.
And just like a school assignment, there are penalties for non-compliance. “If we do not comply with the Governor’s mandate, the penalty would be to lose $3.9 million in State Aid funds, an amount that would be devastating to our school community,” said school boss Eric Bryne in an email as you could hear him contemplating the restless students and parents.
The planned schedule next week will be a bit lighter.
The full communication is below. What do you think of the change? Leave a comment.
“From: Communications, RCSD
Date: Wed, Apr 1, 2020
Subject: RCSD Spring Break Update
Dear RCSD Community,
The past few weeks have been challenging for all members of our community, and especially for our children. As educators we recognize taking children out of their routines, providing instruction remotely, and limiting their social circles has a real impact. We are all making changes and sacrifices in an effort to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and help flatten the curve on the spread of this terrible virus.
On March 27, 2020, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.11 extending the school closure through April 15, 2020, and requiring schools to use any and all scheduled vacation days to continue distance learning. While we had recently communicated the need to maintain our scheduled spring vacation, April 6-13, we must now continue distance learning next week. If we do not comply with the Governor’s mandate, the penalty would be to lose $3.9 million in State Aid funds, an amount that would be devastating to our school community.
Since the Governor’s announcement, the administrative team has been working with the Rye Teachers Association to determine a solution that considers the needs of students, families, and teachers and recognizes how hard everyone has been working given this new instructional model. In recognition that everyone needs a break of some kind, as we continue distance learning during what was to have been the vacation, there will be no assessments (tests, quizzes, etc.) scheduled for the week. At the elementary level, students will have daily Padlets (online virtual bulletin boards in Google Classroom where teachers post) with low-key learning activities. At the secondary level, assignments will be of a project-based nature, so students may work at their own pace, and will be posted prior to April 6. Teachers will not be hosting Google Hangouts or other live teaching sessions. They will be available via email, but may respond on a delayed basis. Hopefully, this approach will allow everyone to enjoy some additional “play time, down time, and family time” as recommended by our partners at Challenge Success.
There are religious holidays that are part of this upcoming period and, of course, no student will be penalized for observing a religious holiday and will not be expected to be online or working on those days. Please keep in mind, some teachers may also be observing the religious holidays and therefore may not be available online.
On behalf of the Board of Education and District administrative team, I want to express our heartfelt gratitude to our faculty and staff for all they have done and continue to do as we navigate these challenging times together. Thank you to all of the parents and guardians who have been understanding and supportive of the District. We will get through this together and come out on the other side with greatly enhanced patience, flexibility, and technology skills.
Eric Byrne, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools”