Community Update February 25 and 26, 2022

Dear RCS Families,

We hope you were able to enjoy valuable time with loved ones during the midwinter recess. As we return to school for meaningful teaching and learning, here are some updates and reminders for the week.

Kindergarten information for the 2022-23 school year

RCS is excited to welcome the Class of 2035! An updated kindergarten presentation for families is available on the RCS website. Click here to view the informational video, which includes enrollment requirements, school-age care (SAC) information, student-focused inspiration, and a look inside our kindergarten classrooms.

Emergency Response Training

Ascension Providence Rochester Hospital will be providing free emergency response training to approximately 150 RCS staff members throughout the district. Health professionals will provide CPR/AED certification (cardiopulmonary resuscitation/automated external defibrillator) to members of our critical incidents teams within each building. The training will certify district staff through the American Heart Association for two years. We are grateful for this partnership that helps extend safety and wellness to our school communities.

Honor Community Health offers Dental Services

RCS is expanding its partnership with Honor Community Health to offer dental services to community members. The Honor Dental Care Team will offer oral screening, dental sealants and education onsite at Hart Middle School to all Rochester families at no cost. Details are coming soon for this voluntary service that families may choose to utilize.

Building Improvements Continue

Seven school buildings are scheduled for refreshed flooring in classrooms, corridors and select areas of need. These budgeted projects will be supported through the district’s building and site sinking fund. We anticipate recommending bid awards to the Board of Education at the regular meeting in March. Recommendations are for the following schools: Adams, Baldwin, Delta Kelly, Hamlin, Long Meadow, McGregor and Meadow Brook. RCS is dedicated to continuous improvement and investment in our high-quality learning environments.


The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund is part of the United States Education Department’s (USED) Educational Stabilization Fund Program, which provided one-time federal funding to be appropriated to states to address the impact of COVID-19 on K-12 schools. The Michigan legislature passed, and the governor signed into law, the appropriation of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) ESSER funding formulas, which include ESSER III, and ESSER III equalization.

We appreciate the input shared by community members during the ESSER information presentation on Wednesday. Discussions about districtwide needs and opportunities across grade levels were led by RCS administrators: Karen Gelardi, executive director of instructional practices K-12; Laura Matthews, assistant principal at Stoney Creek High School; Lisa Fosnaugh, principal at West Middle School; and Marco Marando, principal at Baldwin Elementary. Individuals who would like to share additional feedback are invited to use the Talk to RCS feature on the district website.

On Tuesday, I was invited to provide input to the Michigan House of Representatives Education Committee to advocate for flexibility in utilizing ESSER III and 11t equalization funds that are currently restricted to designated student subgroups who were disproportionately affected by COVID-19. With thanks to Matt McDaniel, executive director of business operations, RCS advocated for resource allocation to address pandemic-related learning loss for all students across the district.

ESSER III-11t equalization funds are available to school districts like RCS that did not receive at least $1,093 per pupil in ESSER III Formula Funds. Currently, funding can only be utilized to affect student subgroups outlined by the state, which include students from low-income families, students from each racial and ethnic group, English learners, children with disabilities, students experiencing homelessness, children in foster care, and migratory students. The local education agency (LEA) plan must also reserve specific state-designated percentages of its total allocation to address learning loss; specifically, 51.4% to address learning loss through evidence-based interventions, 10.3% for summer enrichment programs, and 10.3% for afterschool programs. We are grateful for state and federal resources that support high-quality education. Our testimony helped inform state legislators about the widespread needs of all children across our student body who have been impacted by the pandemic.

Media Center Material Review and Parental Controls

RCS collaborates with families, educators and community members to give students the tools they need for whole-child success, which includes academic achievement and social-emotional wellness. We encourage this partnership that allows respectful, meaningful engagement to consider which resources best support each child’s developmental needs.

As a reminder, district administrative regulation 2106.1 approved in 2017 provides for families who would like to initiate a review of a resource in a school or media center an opportunity to submit a written request to the superintendent, stating the basis of the objection. Professional staff members will conduct a thorough evaluation and review of each item and provide a recommendation to the superintendent for consideration. A final decision will be made by the superintendent and shared with the Board of Education and the individual filing the request for review. Families are always invited to contact their school administrators and media center staff to discuss resource collections and concerns.

In addition, our library circulation systems are able to set parental controls on specific materials. Families who would like to restrict particular book selections for their children may contact the school’s information literacy specialist to make notations in the student’s library account.

Half-Day on March 4

As a reminder, March 4 is a half-day for students districtwide. Staff in early childhood through grade five will use the afternoon for teacher records to end the second trimester. Staff in grades 6-12 and the Adult Transition Program and Services will utilize the afternoon for professional development programs.

RCS Foundation Online Auction

The Rochester Community Schools Foundation online auction ends at 9 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 27. We appreciate the community’s generous support for RCS students.

COVID-19 Updates

As a reminder, beginning Monday, Feb. 28, 2022, masks will be optional in Oakland County schools and daycares. The Oakland County Health Division (OCHD) rescinded the Emergency Order (2020-02) for Control of Pandemic, which obligated educational institutions to require students, teachers and staff to wear a face covering to slow the transmission of COVID-19.

*** Additional Covid-19 Update from Dr. Shaner as of Saturday, Feb 26, 2022 ***

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on Friday evening that effective Feb. 25, 2022, the CDC does not require wearing of masks on buses or vans operated by public or private school systems, including early care and education/child care programs.

Beginning Monday, Feb. 28, face coverings will be optional in Rochester Community Schools buildings and transportation vehicles. This update follows new COVID-19 guidance from the CDC, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, and Oakland County Health Division.

*** END of Saturday, Feb 26, 2022 Update ***

On Feb. 16, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) updated its mask guidance for public settings, to include schools. It is recommended that parents and caregivers assess risk factors within their own families when making personal choices about wearing a mask. The MDHHS states that those with chronic illnesses or who are immunocompromised could benefit from masking indoors.

We continue to reinforce that at no time will students or staff be discriminated against for their vaccination or mask-wearing preferences. RCS abides by a respect code that ensures all members of our community will be safe, valued and respected.

The CDC, MDHHS and the OCHD continue to support layered mitigation strategies to prevent the spread of illness, which can include masks, vaccinations, testing if exposed or symptomatic, frequent hand washing, and staying home when sick.

With the updated guidance, schools are not required to contact trace for COVID-19. For questions regarding the OCHD school quarantine and isolation guidance, families can contact the OCHD Nurse on Call at 800-848-5533.

As always, if you have any comments, questions, compliments or concerns, please use the Talk to RCS feature on our website.

Thank you for your support as we continue providing high-quality education and opportunities for our students.


Dr. Robert Shaner

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