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Can my child go to school today? If my child has COVID-19 symptoms, when can they return? New Department of Health Decision Making Flowcharts

Use these tools designed by the NYS Department of Health to assist in determining if your child can go to school based on the health screening and exposure mitigation protocols.

At a recent meeting with the County Executive and the Dutchess County Behavioral and Community Health Department, Superintendents were provided with further guidance related to testing, contact tracing, and procedures for handling confirmed or suspected cases in our buildings. Please review those associated materials here:
Dutchess County Protocol for Symptomatic or Confirmed Case
Dutchess County Contact Tracing Protocol
Dutchess County Testing Protocol (updated 8/20)
Dutchess County School Closure Guidance (updated 8/20)

The most current testing information will always be available directly at this site: dutchessny.gov/coronavirustesting

Click For More Information

Superintendent’s Report to Board of Education on Supplies, Practices, and Approaches for Maintaining a Healthy Learning Environment Presentation
Parent Session: Preparing for the Transition Back to School Slide Deck

Our Approach

The Rhinebeck Central School District is committed to ensuring the well-being and health of all students and staff, while ensuring a rich and complete educational experience regardless of the setting or method of delivery. We understand that plans will evolve and adapt as guidance shifts throughout the year and are dedicated to being responsive and nimble through the process.

The district is committed to doing this work in a way that prioritizes equity and access in learning and in meeting the needs of our unique learners. We recognize and value the school building and classrooms as a place for learning but in accessing those spaces, we will follow the guidance as it relates to social distancing and face coverings. As communication is critical, we will consolidate our communication to this page and its associated links as the primary source for information. This website covers a large amount of information and even more details are available in our full PDF document you can download below.

Download Reopening Plan: Document Version


Deliberately designed and thoughtful approaches.

Adherence to the health and safety measures, involving students in their own healthful practices.

Learning platforms that are aligned and conducive to high quality learning and teaching.

Responsive and proactive efforts to support the social and emotional impacts of prolonged or sporadic closure.



While no final determinations have been made, our committees are currently working to develop models that prioritize time on campus and in the school building on a regular and daily basis for students in elementary school.

We are also creating approaches that provide for reduced capacity on a consistent, but reduced basis for our secondary students in grades 6-12.

To be best prepared, and in order to comply with mandates regarding social distancing in buildings, the district is prioritizing plans for hybrid and remote models, and for a seamless transition between both should that be necessary.

It is our current plan to use a phase-in approach for our in-person hybrid model, bringing in selected grade levels back into buildings in a gradual process.

Hybrid: In-Person/Remote Models

In the event Governor Cuomo announces in early August, or later, that schools will reopen for in-person learning, we are prepared to open the buildings in accordance with social distancing, density reduction, and other mandated health and safety requirements. Given the constraints of these mandates, we are unable to support in-person learning for all students in the secondary schools (MS/HS) on a daily basis. Therefore will we operate on a reduced density plan, bringing in approximately one-half of each grade level on four days during the week. In order to support remote learning for students who are not returning to the campus, we have designed into the schedule daily remote interactions for students, including extended time for remote support for all students 6-12 each Wednesday.

We are optimistic that we can support full in-person instruction for our elementary students, as well as developing an approach for remote learning that will ensure meaningful daily contact and learning.

While we are prepared to support remote learning when we are in a hybrid mode, we are confident in our approaches to prioritizing health and safety and encourage our students to return to school when in-person learning is permitted.

Full Remote Model

In the event that schools are not permitted to open, we are prepared to offer a fully scheduled and consistent remote model that ensures students will have meaningful interaction with their teachers and content, including scheduled time for teachers to provide feedback, conference with students, and host office hours.

While more details about this model will continue to be articulated, we understand the importance of schedules, taking attendance in remote learning, providing assessments and feedback, and consistency in the implementation of a learning management system that is coherent and accessible for students. To the best extent possible, our hybrid model schedules will be designed in such a manner that they are immediately transferable into a remote learning model.

We are hopeful that we will have a period of time at the start of the year with in-person learning so that we can familiarize our students with the online platforms while in classes, discuss best practices for remote learning, and proactively set ourselves up for a seamless transition to remote learning if/when it becomes necessary for individuals, groups, a full school, or district.

We also recognize that engaging parents in the learning about our online platforms is essential and will seek to create opportunities to increase our capacity community-wide to support high-quality remote learning.




Student and Staff Health and Safety Actions

The health and safety of our students, our employees and their families is our top priority. We want students and all employees to feel comfortable and safe returning to school campuses. Our health and safety  plan incorporates recommendations and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) and the New York State Education Department (NYSED). The following protocols and procedures will be in place in all district buildings for the 2020-21 school year. 

To ensure compliance with health and safety communication requirements, Rhinebeck Central School District will:

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Daily Health Screenings
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Social Distancing
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Face Coverings
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Personal Hygiene Training
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Reduced Classroom Density
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Increased Cleaning & Disinfection
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Symptom Assessment and Response
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Closure Considerations




In an effort to assure high-quality teaching and learning, a continuity of learning plan has been developed for the 2020-21 school year. This plan considers and plans for teaching and learning  in-person, remotely, and through hybrid models of instruction.   Our plan assures that curriculum is aligned with prioritized New York State Learning Standards and that instruction is framed with equity and quality for all learners. 

Instruction in our district will be designed with clear,  comprehensive, and accessible learning opportunities for all students whether it is delivered in-person, remotely, or through a hybrid model.  Please review the proposed instructional models section for more information. 

Our teaching and instructional plan outlines routine, scheduled times for students to interact, engage with new material,  and seek feedback and support from their teachers.  The plan is centered on Instruction and academic programming that  includes regular and substantive interaction with an appropriately certified teacher regardless of the delivery method.

Our teaching and learning plan includes a clear communication plan for how students and their families/caregivers can contact teachers with questions about instruction and/or technology. This information will be accessible to all, available in multiple languages, widely disseminated, and include clear and multiple ways for students and families to contact schools and teachers (e.g., email, online platform, and/or by phone) in an effort to assure learning for each individual. 

As we enter the new school year, teachers will prioritize building relationships, supporting students with the transition back to school, and teaching respiratory hygiene and social distancing etiquette at developmentally appropriate levels.  

When a remote or hybrid learning model is necessary, certain groups of students will be prioritized for in-person learning to the greatest extent possible. This includes, but is not limited to, special education students, English language learners, students identified for academic support, and students with technology or connectivity needs.

Assessing student learning gaps or areas of need will be critical. Formative assessment before a unit of instruction to assess student understanding of pre-requisite skills will be common practice. 

Acknowledging that the typical content in a given grade level or course may need to be adjusted, content will be prioritized to ensure that students receive instruction for the prioritized learning standards, key understandings, and skills necessary for students’ success in future study. 

The Rhinebeck Central School District reopening plan provides a framework to ensure that all students with disabilities continue to have available to them a free appropriate public education (FAPE) that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living in the least restrictive environment (LRE).  In consideration of the health, safety, and well-being of students, families, and staff, our plan is designed to enable transitioning between in-person, remote, and hybrid learning environments to ensure the provision of FAPE consistent with the changing health and safety conditions that exist.

Special education programs and services of the Rhinebeck Central School District provide equity and access for students with disabilities to be involved in and to participate and progress in the general education curriculum with access to the necessary accommodations, modifications, supplementary aids and services, and technology (including assistive technology) to meet the unique disability related needs of students. While not all formats allow for maximum benefit to students, these programs and services can be provided in all formats (live-person, hybrid, or remote).  The Rhinebeck Central School District will document the programs and services offered and provided to students with disabilities as well as to the communications with parents in their preferred language and mode of communication (eg. Related Services Log). The district will ensure access to the necessary accommodations, modifications, supplementary aids and services, and technology (including assistive technology) to meet the unique disability related needs of students.

The Rhinebeck Central School District is committed to providing meaningful parent engagement in the parent’s preferred language or mode of communication regarding the provision of services to his/her child to meet the requirements of the IDEA. Further, we will maintain regular communication with the parents/guardians and other family members  to ensure that they are engaged in their children’s education during the reopening process. To that end, The Rhinebeck Central School District will be hosting a Special Education Family Town Hall in August to further outline how services and programs will be maintained during hybrid and remote learning throughout the 2020-21 school year. Additionally, families will receive frequent communication from their child’s primary provider regarding their progress and engagement in the learning process as well as progress toward IEP goals.

The Rhinebeck Central School District will plan and support collaboration between the committees on preschool special education (CPSE) and committees on special education (CSE) and program providers representing the variety of settings where students are served to ensure there is an understanding of the provision of services consistent with the recommendations on individualized education programs (IEPs), plans for monitoring and communicating student progress, and commitment to sharing resources.

The Rhinebeck Central School District will maintain records to document the implementation of each IEP.  The documentation will include, but will not be limited to: narrative records of how the student is adjusting to live, hybrid, and remote instruction during 2020-21, a record of what instruction and services were provided, a record of formative, summative, and  standardized assessments and their results as well as progress monitoring documentation, a record of school-family collaboration, and the provision of compensatory services records.

Rhinebeck Central School District provides world language instruction in Spanish and French 7-12 and English as a New Language (ENL) instruction for ELLs/MLLs K-12.  This be provided in all formats (in-person, hybrid, or remote). 

Support of English language learners (ELLs) will be comprehensive, high-quality, and culturally responsive.  If we reopen using in-person or hybrid instruction we will complete the ELL identification process within 20 school days of the start of the school year for all students who enrolled during COVID-19 school closures in 2019-20, as well as all students who enroll during summer of 2020 and during the first 20 school days of the 2020-21 school year.  After this 20 day flexibility period, identification of ELLs will resume for all students within the required 10 school days of initial enrollment as required by Commissioner’s Regulations Part 154. 

Rhinebeck Central School District is committed to comprehensive, high-quality, and culturally responsive instruction for ENL students, we will provide the required instructional Units of Study to all ELLs based on their most recently measured English language proficiency level during in-person or hybrid instruction.  Further, we will maintain regular communication with the parents/guardians and other family members of ELLs to ensure that they are engaged in their children’s education during the reopening process which includes telephone contact, text messages, social media, emails and regular mail in their preferred language.  We will provide all communications for parents/guardians of ELLs in their preferred language and mode of communication.  We utilize internal and external resources to assist with translation services.  This service can translate live conversations as well as documents.

Rhinebeck Central School District will provide professional learning opportunities for our district that support best practices and equitable instruction for ELLs as well as general education students to help address learning gaps caused by the COVID-19 school closures.  The district also has access to the OUBOCES Professional Learning Catalog to support teachers to assure ENL and world language instruction is personalized and research-based.

In order to assure that students have opportunities to study world languages we are prepared to teach Spanish, and French as scheduled in the hybrid, or remote format upon reopening.  With the support of OUBOCES, we will provide professional learning opportunities to our district and the region that supports best practices in all three formats of instruction and cover equitable instruction for our ELLs, SWDs, and general education students who are studying world languages such as Spanish, or French to help address learning gaps caused by the COVID-19 school closures.

Through using our district and BOCES resources, we are well prepared to reopen our schools and serve ELLs, MLLs, and students learning world languages as they expand their skills, knowledge, and facilities with languages.

While planning for CTE instruction, whether operating in remote or hybrid models, Rhinebeck Central School District has collaborated with Dutchess BOCES to ensure high school instructional plans are compatible. Dutchess BOCES has developed models that ensure NYS learning Standards, applicable industry certification requirements, clinical and work based learning hours have been met. In addition, their plans follow all NYS/DOH health and safety guidelines and social distancing. Those plans will be available here: https://www.dcboces.org/

Access to technology and internet connectivity is essential for the successful implementation of both our hybrid and remote learning plans. The Rhinebeck Central School District is committed to implementation of district technologies to ensure equitable access for staff and students. The district recognizes the broad and varied circumstances for student home access to reliable internet and devices.  

  • The Rhinebeck Central School District will continue to assess the ongoing needs of our families for technology and connectivity (survey, interviews, school outreach, etc.).  In the event students and/or instructional staff do not have access, the district will take the necessary steps to meet their needs where plausible. 
  • The district is preparing a 1:1 device to student ratio to ensure each student has a device and has procured cell-based MiFi devices to accommodate those who lack broadband access.  The limitation of these devices is, however,  dependent on the strength of cellular technology at the particular residence of the student. The district is committed to partnering with local organizations and community groups to communicate information to our families regarding spaces with available and reliable data access points 
  • The district will procure, manage and/or maintain hardware, software, licenses, learning management systems, etc. to support and improve remote instruction. 
  • The district will identify professional learning needs for teachers and continue to support their development of skills and pedagogy in a virtual learning environment.

The district will continue to provide a system for parents/students/teachers to report technical issues that might be experienced during remote learning.  The email [email protected]  will continue to be the point of communication for remote technical support.  The district will continue to communicate protocols to all stakeholders to inform them in advance of how to get assistance and support.

Attendance and Attendance Reporting

All schools in the Rhinebeck Central School District will take daily attendance whether school opens with a hybrid or remote model.  Attendance policies and procedures will be communicated with families and students directly from the school buildings prior to the start of the school year with an update if the instructional model changes during the year. 

Teachers will record daily attendance in our student management system based on the required daily scheduled student contact.  Attendance is expected and will be taken for all students who are engaging in scheduled remote learning periods.  This may be achieved through participation in daily tasks or assignments, through submission of work on a scheduled date and time, and other means defined by each building.  

Daily reports will be generated to identify students who are absent and/or chronically absent.  Contact with the families will be made to determine reasons for absence and needs or barriers the student may have to participate in daily lessons.

Chronic Absenteeism

While there is no one-size-fits all approach to addressing chronic absenteeism, Rhinebeck Central School District is committed to providing interventions to prevent and address chronic absenteeism.  We recognize that many factors will influence student attendance, and may be greatly impacted by the instructional models provided.

The Rhinebeck Central School District will address chronic absenteeism in the following ways:  

  1. Nurture a culture of attendance
    • Communicate clearly to families and students what the attendance policy is and expectations for participating based on the model of instruction
    • Explain the importance of attendance to the entire school community
    • Track daily attendance and student engagement in one central, secure location 
  2. Early Identification and Intervention
    • regularly monitoring of attendance data 
    • identification of sporadic attendance patterns
    • Establish intervention plans 
  3. Create a more positive school culture and a focus on engaging instruction
    • Evaluate and address student engagement in learning 
    • Provide teachers and school leaders with multiple levels of support to help students stay more engaged and act positively.
    • Help students achieve positive social and emotional character development

Student Clubs

The Rhinebeck Central School District recognizes the value of student activities and clubs.  In order to be best prepared to cooperate with contact tracing, movement reduction and supervision of social distancing there will not be after-school activities until further notice. 

This district is committed to finding creative alternatives to offer this vital element of a school experience, using virtual platforms - or when feasible in-person socially distanced activities. 

Until further notice, all large assemblies, meetings, and school or grade-level events will be postponed or conducted in a virtual manner. 

 Interscholastic Athletics

As a result of the COVID19 pandemic, districts have delayed the Fall sports start date until Monday, September 21.  With NYS approval for the opening of schools in September and with appropriate social distancing, PPE usage, and cleaning and disinfection of equipment, the following will be implemented:

  • Cancel NYS Fall Regional and State Championship events 
  • Waive seven-day practice rule to enable greater opportunities for local participation 
  • Maintain current practice requirements 
  • Encourage geographic scheduling for games & contests 
  • Schools would have the option, if permitted by state officials, to offer off-season conditioning workouts.

If the Fall sports season is interrupted or impacted by COVID-19 crisis (i.e. state official guidance, school closings, cancelation of high-risk sports, etc.) then a condensed-seasons plan will be implemented. This plan takes into consideration the competitive and interactive aspects of each sport and would include the following, with the stipulated dates being tentative. 

  • Season I (Winter Sports) 
    • Dates: Jan. 4-Mar. 13 (Week 27-36) 10 Weeks 
    • *Note: tentative dates Sports: basketball (girls & boys), bowling (girls & boys), gymnastics, ice hockey (girls & boys), indoor track & field (girls & boys), skiing (girls & boys), swimming (boys), *wrestling, *competitive cheer. * Because of the high risk nature of wrestling and competitive cheer, sports may have to be moved to Season II or season III. 
  • Season II (Fall Sports) 
    • Dates: Mar. 1-May 8 (Week 35-44) 10 Weeks 
    • *Note: tentative dates Sports: football, cross country (girls & boys), field hockey, soccer (girls & boys), swimming (girls), volleyball (girls & boys), Unified bowling. Note: Weather will have an impact upon outdoor sports in some parts of the state in March and potentially early April. Girls Tennis moved to Season III. 
  • Season III (Spring Sports) 
    • Dates: Apr. 5-Jun. 12 (Week 40-49) 10 Weeks 
    • *Note: tentative dates Sports: baseball, softball, golf (girls & boys), lacrosse (girls & boys), tennis (girls & boys), outdoor track & field (girls & boys), Unified basketball.



Rhinebeck Central School District will conduct transportation activities that are consistent with state-issued public transit guidance and NYSED School Reopening guidelines. Students and school staff must wear acceptable face coverings at all times on school buses (e.g., entering, exiting, and seated) and should maintain appropriate social distancing to the extent practicable. 

Students will be required to wear masks and social distance on the bus to the extent practicable; however, students whose physical or mental health would be impaired are not required to wear a face covering, but must be appropriately socially distanced. Members of the same household may be seated within 6 feet of each other. Parents and legal guardians are encouraged to drop off or walk students to school to reduce density on buses.

All buses that are used every day by districts and contract carriers will be cleaned/ disinfected once a day. High contact spots will be wiped down after the morning (AM) and afternoon (PM) run depending upon the disinfection schedule. 

School buses shall not be equipped with hand sanitizer due to its combustible composition and potential liability to the carrier or district. School bus drivers, monitors and attendants must not carry personal bottles of hand sanitizer with them on school buses. 

Wheelchair school buses will configure wheelchair placement to ensure social distancing of 6 feet.

Whether Rhinebeck Central School District is in session remotely or otherwise, pupil transportation will be provided to nonpublic, parochial, private, charter schools or students whose Individualized Education Plans have placed them in out-of-district settings and whose schools are meeting for in-person instruction and have already requested transportation previously for the upcoming year and are within the 15-mile limits.

All students are entitled to transportation by the district to the extent required by law. Transportation departments do not have the ability or the right to deny transportation for children who are in foster care, homeless or attend private or charter schools.

Cleaning and Disinfecting  

The district will work with the contracted transportation provider to ensure appropriate cleaning and disinfection which will include:

  • Buses and other transportation vehicles will be cleaned and disinfected daily (focus on high touch areas) and in between runs if scheduled for multiple routes. At the end of the day clean and disinfect the entire bus
  • Daily Cleaning
    • All trash removed
    • Floors swept and dust mopped
    • Walls and windows cleaned 
  • High Touch Surfaces
    • Bus seats and seat backs
    • Seat belts 
    • Door handles, handrails
    • Driver operator area 
  • Cleaning and disinfecting products approved by the EPA will be used according to instructions. 
  • Eating and drinking will be prohibited on the bus
  • Buses will be inspected to ensure cleaning/disinfecting protocols are followed 
  • All cleanings/inspections will be documented (via trackable log)

Bus protocols for a reported case of Covid-19 on a school bus 

Assistant Superintendent for Support Services or his/her designee will be notified, the district will then notify building administration and a plan will be implemented to contact parents of students on that bus.

Bus will be taken out of service for 24 hours before the bus can be used again after a report of COVID-19. Bus will be disinfected following CDC guidelines.

Students on Transportation 

  • As was outlined in the Health and Safety section of this guidance, all parents/guardians will be required to ensure their child/children are not experiencing any signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and do not have a fever of 100 degrees or more prior to them boarding their method of transportation to school; 
  • Students must wear a mask on a school bus if they are physically able. Students who are unable to medically tolerate a face covering, including students where medical documentation indicates that such covering would impair their physical health or mental health are not subject to the required use of a face covering; 
  • Students who do not have a mask may NOT be denied transportation; 
  • Students who do not have masks must be provided one by the bus driver; 
  • Students with a disability which would prevent them from wearing a mask will not be compelled to do so or denied transportation.

Training (Office Personnel, Drivers, Mechanics, Aides) 

  • Hazard Communication/Right-To-Know (annual)
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Exposure Control/Bloodborne Pathogen (BBP)
  • COVID Awareness
    • New cleaning Protocols (buses, transportation center)
    • Handwashing
    • Face Covering (sizing, use, wear & care)
    • Personal Health and Hygiene
    • Special working conditions with face coverings (strenuous activity)

Required Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • Disposable gloves
  • Face Covering/Mask
  • Face Shield (if applicable)

Transportation Communication

  • Rhinebeck Central School District will emphasize to parents and students prior to reopening schools that the District has thoroughly disinfected all buses and student transportation vehicles 
  • Rhinebeck Central School District will communicate with parents and students about how student transportation vehicles are included in the district’s COVID-19 plans and what part students, parents, bus personnel, and the school district will play in ensuring the safe transportation of students to minimizing the risk of infection while utilizing District transportation services
  • Advise parents not to send their children to school or board the bus if sick and to conduct and affirm clearance via the health screening tool daily
  • The district will survey parents regarding transportation including an “opt-out” option
  • The district will remind students/parents/guardians that social distancing requirements extend to the bus stop
  • Communication will occur with administration and the transportation provider regarding multiple routing scenarios for different instructional scheduling options (split session, alternating days, hybrid option)

Density Reduction, Social Distancing, Bus Capacity

  • Based on NYSED Guidance,  the district will:
    • as a density reduction strategy, commit to seating one student per bench, when all students are wearing masks. If a student is medically unablet o  wear a mask appropriate social distancing will be enforced.
    • Allow siblings or those that live in the same household to sit together, this will increase capacity.
    • Place floor decals or tape to indicate where students should sit 
    • request the transportation company install sneeze guards to protect the driver
    • not seat students directly behind the driver
  • As practicable, the district will assign personnel to take student attendance/screening assurance upon arrival on campus. To assist with contract tracing efforts, the attendance sheets should be documented in writing and retained for contact tracing


  • The Rhinebeck Central School District had developed multiple routing scenarios for administration to analyze different instructional scheduling options 
    • Split sessions 
    • Alternating days 
    • Hybrid schedules – some grade levels in person learning at school buildings, other grade levels virtual remote learning
  • Limit rotation of substitute drivers
  • Limit student movement between bus routes 
    • Discontinue allowing students to ride different buses on different days of the week unless parent or guardian makes plausible requests (childcare, custody arrangements)
    • If possible, mirror AM and PM routes, so bus riders are the same group each day 

    Loading/Unloading & Pickup/Drop-off

    • Students shall be loaded in sequential route order. First student on the bus sits in the back, when going to school, last student off sits in the back when going home from school 
    • Dismissal times will be staggered to best suit building needs and to promote social distancing 
    • Adjustments will be made by buildings:
      • For unloading and entry, and loading and departure 
      • Route timing which will be affected by delayed loading/unloading processes
      • Arrival and departure activities shall be supervised to ensure social distancing
    • Will add or modify bus routes to reduce load levels on buses 

    Transporting to BOCES

    • Rhinebeck Central School District will be transporting to BOCES and will follow similar protocols as previously described 
    • Rhinebeck Central School District will keep a log of attendees on the trip in both directions from the BOCES building. Upon request, schools may need to supply the log of passengers in addition to cleaning logs in the event BOCES must assist in contact tracing due to exposures either at the BOCES buildings, or during transportation

In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection in the district, facilities operations will be geared toward meeting social distancing requirements and cleaning frequently touched spaces regularly. In carrying out projects or tasks supporting infection control, requirements will be met for changes associated with building spaces. 

Plans for changes or additions to facilities that require review by the Office of Facilities Planning (OFP), will be submitted to comply with the requirements of the 2020 New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code (BC) and the State Energy Conservation Code.

The function, position and operation of stairs and corridor doors, which have closers with automatic hold opens (and are automatically released by the fire alarm system), will remain unchanged.

The Rhinebeck Central School District plans to meet the deadline for submission of Building Condition Survey or Visual Inspections on time. In addition, lead in water sampling will be carried out upon the reopening of school under conditions consistent with when the building is “normally occupied.”

Upon reopening, the district plans to increase ventilation, to the greatest extent possible.   

The following actions will be taken as needed: 

  • Work with engineers to establish sufficient fresh air exchange.
  • Drinking Water Facilities: Reduce number of drinking fountains and replace with touchless bottle fillers. Drinking fountains are a code required plumbing fixture. 
  • Alterations to the configuration of existing classrooms or spaces or the introduction of temporary and/or movable partitions, the change will be submitted to OFP, the local municipality and/or code enforcement officials for review.
  • For offsite facilities, communication with the project manager at NYSED Office of Facilities Planning (OFP) and a Temporary Quarters (TQ) Project submission.
  • Tents, both temporary and permanent are regulated by code and must be submitted for a building permit.
  • Minimum number of toilet fixtures that must be available for use in a building is established in the building code.
  •  Maintain adequate, Code required ventilation (natural or mechanical) as designed.
  •  If other air cleaning equipment (e.g. new technology) is proposed, submit to OFP for review and approval.

Engineering Controls

  • Alcohol based hand sanitizer will be available near each entry, all corridors, and each classroom.
  • Bathrooms 
    • Reduced capacity in bathrooms
    • soap dispensers are in place at each sink
    • we’re looking into barriers
    • Entry doors to gang bathrooms will be left open where applicable to reduce the need to handle 
  • Greeter/Reception Areas
    • Polycarbonate barriers will be installed to provide protection for Rhinebeck Central School District  staff and individuals presenting 
    • Barriers have been designed in accordance with New York State Fire Code
  • Water Fountains
    • As required by New York State Code a potable water supply will be provided per 150 occupants, but not less than one source per floor.  
    • To reduce cross contamination the bubbler/drink spout has been disabled.
    • Automatic/touchless bottle filling equipment is installed..  
    • Additional bottle filler stations will be installed where necessary.  
    • These appliances will be routinely cleaned and disinfected as described in the Cleaning and Disinfection Section.
  • Floor Demarcations
    • All entrances or areas of static wait have floor signage installed allotting for a minimum of six (6) feet of separation between all individuals
    • All Corridor floors and Stairway treading have been fitted with stripping to indicate directional traffic flow and social distancing.
  • Corridor doors will all be affixed open using electromagnetic hold-open devices to minimize the need to touch doors.  
  • The district is exploring acceptable tenting options


Rhinebeck Central School District will ensure sufficient ventilation and fresh air to all spaces of occupancy by means of:

  • Modifications to the Building Management Systems to allow fresh air dampers to introduce more outside air. 
  • Air handling systems have been inspected for function 
    • Where applicable filters will be replaced
    • all filters in all unit ventilators, air handlers, univents 
  • Spaces where fresh air is limited due to original building systems, fresh air will be introduced through open windows and doors.  
    • Options for replacement and modification to existing systems will be explored.
  • Fan motors speeds will be reviewed where applicable to ensure optimal volume and flow
  • More frequent maintenance and inspection of the systems will occur to mitigate extra strain on systems.
  • Filter replacement schedules will be more frequent. 

Computer Labs

In our current model planning, computer lab spaces will not be utilized in order to limit shared access to computing devices. 

  • The use of shared space and equipment use will be limited where feasible. 
  • Students will have access to space to use their own personal computing devices. 


Library Spaces

In our current model planning, library spaces will not be utilized in typical fashion order to limit shared access to materials.

  • To facilitate cleaning procedures, the district will remove all soft covered surfaces that cannot be properly cleaned and disinfected.
    • Bean bag chairs
    • Upholstered couches or chairs
    • Area rugs
  • If utilized for any reason, reconfiguration will occur to ensure social distancing.
    • Tables will be limited to one individual at a time where applicable.
      • Polycarbonate barriers may be installed to create a physical barrier.
    • Small reading nook use should be discontinued unless:
      • limited to one person at a time.
      • Cleaned and disinfected routinely 
  • Borrowing  of materials such as books will be coordinated with supervision.

All schools in the Rhinebeck Central School District will follow the School Food Authority (SFA) policies when communicating about school meal services, eligibility, options and changes in operations. 

All meals provided during the public health emergency were available at no cost to all children, but this provision has not yet been reauthorized and is subject to change at any time. Information regarding any orders related to child nutrition will be communicated from the district.  

Food Service Communication

 Rhinebeck Central School District has identified Larry Anthony, as the contact person to receive and respond to communications from families and to school staff. Mr. Anthony may be contacted at [email protected] All communications regarding food services will be provided through a variety of communication methods including website, social media, emails, and regular mail and translated into the languages spoken by families.  

 Families will be reminded in food service communications during the summer and periodically that they can submit a new application for free and reduced-price meals any time during the school year.  Applications are available in each school building, on our website and through email or regular mail as needed.  Phone and in-person support to complete the application is available from our Secretary to the Assistant Superintendent for Support Services, Donna Ellis at 845 871-5500 *5523 or [email protected]

 School meals will continue to be available to all students, including those attending school in-person and those learning remotely.

 For information about how essential district communication, including meal information will be communicated, visit the Communication section of Rhinebeck Returns at https://www.rhinebeckcsd.org/portal/returns/index.php 

Food Service Helpers/Kitchen.

  • Staff will complete the district approved health screening prior to arrival at work
  • All staff will be socially distanced, and wearing face coverings.
  • All employees will implement safe food handling protocols per CDC, SED and DOH.
  • All kitchen equipment washed, rinsed, and sanitized per CDC, SED and DOH protocols. 

Meals Onsite

For students on campus, meals will be provided while maintaining appropriate social distancing between students. Students do not need to wear face coverings when seated and eating so long as they are appropriately socially distanced. 

The district will ensure social distancing between individuals while eating at the school. When necessary, meals may be served in alternate areas (e.g., classrooms, outside) or in staggered meal periods to ensure social distancing and proper cleaning and disinfection between students.

The sharing of food and beverages (e.g., buffet style meals, snacks) is prohibited, unless individuals are members of the same household. Adequate space will be reserved for students, faculty, and staff to observe social distancing while eating meals.


Chancellor Livingston Elementary School

If we are in an in-person learning model, CLS students who wish to partake in either the breakfast or lunch programs will be led to the cafeteria at the appropriate time by their teacher and/or designee. All students will be brought to the cafeteria, one class at a time. Before going to the cafeteria, elementary teachers will remind students of the hand washing protocols, sharing of food and beverages is not permitted, and to maintain social distancing going to and from the location.

Whether it is for breakfast or lunch, students will have three meal options, but each of these options will be prepackaged in order to move students through the lines with adequate social distance and without slowing the process down by choosing individual items.

After receiving their meal, the student will proceed to the cashier for checkout. At that time, the cashier will review the student’s account for allergies to ensure that none of the items on the tray could cause a known allergic reaction.

After the cashier has processed the student, the student will proceed to the eating area(s). The preferable area will be located outside, under a tent. If the weather becomes too cold or for other weather-related reasons can’t be held outside, then the cafeteria and/or gymnasiums will be used as the eating areas.

A cleaner is assigned to these “eating” areas so that someone will be continually circulating throughout eating areas, ensuring that as students leave the “eating” area, the cleaner will clean and disinfect that “eating” area for use by the next cohort of students.

Bulkeley Middle School/Rhinebeck High School

If we are in an in-person learning model, BMS/RHS students who wish to partake in either the breakfast or lunch programs they will go to the cafeteria social distanced at the appropriate time. All students will have a common lunch time. Before going to the cafeteria, the principal and/or designee will remind students over our public announcement system of the hand washing protocols, sharing of food and beverages is discouraged, and to maintain social distancing going to and from the location.

Whether it is for breakfast or lunch, students will have 3 meal options, but each of these options will be prepackaged in order to move students through the lines social distanced without slowing the process down by choosing individual items.

After receiving their meal, the student will proceed to the cashier for checkout. At that time, the cashier will review the student’s account for allergies to ensure that none of the items on the tray could cause a known allergic reaction.

After the cashier has processed the student, the student will proceed to the eating area(s). The preferable area will be located outside, under a tent. If the weather becomes too cold or for other weather-related reasons can’t be held outside, then the cafeteria and/or gymnasiums will be used as the eating areas.

A cleaner is assigned to these “eating” areas so that someone will be continually circulating throughout eating areas, ensuring that as students leave the “eating” area, the cleaner will clean and disinfect that “eating” area for use by the next cohort of students.


Food Service during Remote Learning

If we are in a remote learning model, or for students who are engaging remotely at any point during the school year, all students who wish to partake in either the breakfast and/or lunch programs will be provided the opportunity to obtain meals.


Breakfast and lunch meals will be provided on Mondays and Thursdays.

Prepackaged meals that meet USDA requirements will be available for pickup. On Mondays, 3 breakfasts and 3 lunches are provided and on Thursdays, 2 breakfasts and 2 lunches are provided. These schedules will be modified as schedule models change and in the event the district, or student, moves from in-person hybrid models to remote,etc. 

Exact times and locations will be determined and provided to all families, as other scheduling details are required before making final determination of pick up times.

The district will create a list of volunteers to help deliver meals to those who are unable, for any reason, to come to our campuses to pick up meals.

When picking up meals the name of the student must be provided, so that we can verify the student’s account for allergies and to ensure that none of the items in the packages could cause a known allergic reaction. 




To inform our reopening plan, the Rhinebeck Central School District has sought feedback and input from stakeholders.  Engagement efforts included online surveys for students, families, and faculty, a virtual Town Hall, virtual building-based and district-based meetings of all staff, and numerous one-on-one conversations. Most importantly is a committee structure that includes representation from across the school community organized in an array of subcommittees. A shared folder of all guidance, minutes and materials from each subcommittee, and recordings from virtual town hall meetings is accessible to all district staff. 

The district will communicate all elements of this reopening plan to students, parents and guardians, employees and visitors. The plan is available to all stakeholders via the Rhinebeck Returns webpage, linked from the district website at www.rhinebeckcsd.org/rhinebeckreturns  and that site will serve as central communications and will be updated throughout the summer and school year, as necessary. A text-message notification, and social media posts, will direct all stakeholders to that site as major updates occur.  

The district will continue to use its existing communication modes – including website updates, SchoolMessenger emails, direct to home mailings, and posted videos to support consistent messaging, but all current communications about school reopening will be included at the Rhinebeck Returns webpage.  Signage and training to support new protocols and procedures, expectations, requirements and options related to school operations  will be utilized throughout the pandemic response. 

Rhinebeck Central School District Communication Goals:

  • To prompt all students, employees and visitors to adhere to NYSED, CDC, and DOH guidance regarding the use of acceptable face coverings. through verbal and written communication (e.g., signage);
  • To provide regular updates about health and safety, scheduling, and all other information faculty, staff and families need to effectively engage with school operations;
  • To provide information to families on a consistent and regularly scheduled basis, through a variety of written and recorded forms; 
  • To provide information on how families can access technology and receive technical support to assist with utilization and maintenance of equipment.

Rhinebeck Central School District communication materials will be centralized on the Rhinebeck Returns website, with additional training, instructions, and building-specific notices dispersed in a variety of platforms that include:

  • District-wide phone calling
  • Email
  • Online training modules for employees, students 
  • Social media accounts used by district
  • Town Hall Meetings (Zoom)

Clear messaging will be prepared and consistently communicated on a regularly-scheduled basis. Minimum weekly or bi-weekly  communication will provide information on the following topics:

  • Who to contact with questions, concerns or suggestions. 
  • Updated or revised guidance from NYSED and NYSDOH.
  • The importance of monitoring symptoms of COVID-19 and when to stay home.
  • Updated or revised protocols for entrance (screening).
  • Procedures for maintaining a schedule for students who are engaging in remote learning or a hybrid of in-person and remote learning. 
  • Strategies for maintaining healthy social-emotional well-being. 

Rhinebeck Central School District will train all employees on protocols and frequently communicate safety guidelines. Training on the precautions listed below will be conducted either remotely or in person.

Training materials will be designed to be easy to understand and available in the appropriate language and with accessibility for all employees.

Further, Rhinebeck Central School District will ensure all students are taught or trained how to follow new COVID-19 protocols safely and correctly, including but not limited to hand hygiene, proper face covering wearing, social distancing, and respiratory hygiene. 

Additional training will be provided in:

  • Prevention of disease spreads by staying home when they are sick.
  • Proper respiratory etiquette, including covering coughs and sneezes.
  • Avoiding the use of communal objects. If communal objects must be used, provide information on proper disinfection procedures between use. Examples of communal objects include, but are not limited to, other workers’ phones, desks, offices, computers or other devices, other work tools and equipment.
  • Provide employees and students with up-to-date education and training on COVID-19. 

The Rhinebeck Central School District will prioritizes the use of CDC produced signs and materials for instruction and training, and supplement that training with age-appropriate and accessible supplementary materials. 


Rhinebeck Central School District will identify individuals who will proficiently trained regarding CDC, OSHA protocols, and DOH guidelines in each building who will serve in the capacity of trained screeners.  

Training topics for all employees 

  • Proper hand hygiene. Promote frequent and thorough hand washing by providing employees, the school community, and visitors with a place to wash their hands. If soap and running water are not immediately available, the district will provide alcohol-based hand rubs containing at least 60% ethanol or 70% isopropyl alcohol. 
  • Proper cough and sneeze etiquette
  • Social Distancing
    • Provide training for all employees on how to address close contact interactions with students as part of every day job tasks.
  • Operating procedures (varies by building)
    • Entrance into the building
    • Cleaning procedures
    • Sick child pick up
    • Employees who are sick or suspected to be sick 
  • Proper cleaning and disinfection techniques
  • Hazard Communication – Right-To-Know
    • Proper use of chemicals and Safety Data sheets
    • No chemicals from home
    • Transfer of hand sanitizer in smaller containers 
    • Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) EPA List of Disinfectants
  • Exposure Control Plan – with a focus on Pandemic/COVID-19 
  • Personal Protective Equipment - PPE
    • Update Hazard Assessment and PPE Selection Worksheet for all identified employees who require additional PPE related to the specific nature of their work
    • Proper type, use, and size
    • Cleaning and sanitizing of the face covering (if applicable)
    • Provide training for staff and students on wearing, putting on, removing and discarding PPE, including in the context of their current and potential duties
  • Use of face coverings 
  • Respirator Protection (N95 - required for identified employees) and training provided for identified personnel

Signs and Messages  

Signs will be posted in highly visible locations (e.g., school entrances, restrooms). The Rhinebeck Central School District is adopting the print media materials developed by the CDC as the exclusive visual information communication tools. 

A sample of those tools are included here: CDC Signage




Social and Emotional Skills for Students

In planning for a September reopening, the District has formed task force teams to examine the guidance provided by the Department of Health and NYSED for our re-entry in the Fall.  Our work is grounded in our beliefs the most equitable opportunities for educational success relies upon the comprehensive support for students and families provided in our schools with our professionals and the systems of support we have built. These supports include academics as well as the social and emotional well-being of our students. We are committed to prioritizing social emotional well-being - not at the expense of academics, but in order to create the mental, social and emotional space to access rigorous academic content with confidence. 

In support of this belief, a Social-Emotional Learning team was created consisting of  certified teachers, certified school counselors, licensed mental health professionals, community members  and school administrators. This task force team was created to develop a cohesive and strategic plan, regardless of the re-entry phase,  to support students and staff upon for the 2020-2021 school year; this includes a means to identify and actively support student and staff well-being and mental health concerns through a range of pre-determined tactics to be employed by those dealing with difficult situations. This plan will focus specifically on how to best support students and staff in a hybrid model scenario, which includes a mix of both in-person and virtual classroom instruction.  This plan includes considerations for teams to rapidly transition between face-to-face and continuous remote learning, which may be required based on the pandemic. 

Research shows the importance of mental and emotional well-being for students and staff, which has both psychological and ultimately academic outcomes.  We know, after this prolonged closure, many of our students and staff will require social-emotional supports to help them re-engage and re-enter work and school. As a District, our commitment is to create emotionally and physically safe, supportive and engaging learning environments promoting all students’ social and emotional well-being and development. The pandemic has elevated the role of leaders in creating conditions helping students practice empathy, create social bonds across distance and adapt to new learning experiences. Counselors, school based health programs, and wrap around supports will play an extremely important role in the adjustment period when buildings reopen and access to school counselors and school-based health programs will be invaluable supports to our students. 

Throughout the summer school administrators, teachers and mental health practitioners (school counselors, school psychologists and/or school social workers) are meeting to create an asset map of already existing foundational assets within school districts and community-based organizations, and build upon them.  In addition, it will be critical to determine students who might be at risk for needing mental health supports. School counselors and administrators are equipped with tools and information needed to see each child through a social emotional lens.  We remain committed to supporting all students and maintain our whole child commitment as well as equipping all staff to connect, heal, and build capacity to support our students.  Supports will include resources such as explicit social emotional learning opportunities embedded within the classrooms, access to counselors, as well as opportunities to enhance a sense community that transcends any particular model of instruction all of which are already being implemented in the Rhinebeck Central School District. Additional supports include 

Addressing the social and emotional needs of District staff is critical, to that end, the District is building systems for adults to engage communities of support and to opportunities check-ins as well as data collection to enhance and target the support. Additionally, Rhinebeck Central School District employees have access to the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) which offers many free services including face-to-face and virtual counseling.  We are committed to developing/making accessible family/caregiver-appropriate social and emotional learning (SEL) content to be used during all phases of our re-entry. 

Transitions are important every year, and they will be even more important this fall returning from continuous remote learning to in-person instruction in buildings or a phased in approach to in-person instruction. Districts should support transitions in a culturally responsive manner and engage students, families, and communities in the process of identifying needs and supports. Transitions take many forms and include returning to school in the fall, moving from one grade band to another, or dealing with the varying emotional needs as a result of the health pandemic. 

The following considerations are guiding our district and building level planning: 

Emotional reactions to coming out of quarantine may include 

Addressing Social-Emotional Health

What District Mental Health Professionals do in our schools