The following letter is regarding an update on the COVID-19 pandemic and reopening plan.
As you are fully aware, the country, state, and county are seeing major increases in COVID-19 cases. As we move through each day, we are always evaluating the situation and how it relates to the safety and well-being of our students, faculty, staff, and community. There are many factors we look at each day in terms of tests, staffing, cases, and overall community well-being in order to make a decision with regard to going remote or in-person instruction. Our primary goal is to keep our students in school and give them the best opportunity to succeed educationally and socially but at the same time gauge the possible ramifications of positive cases and a spread of COVID-19. There is no straight forward answer to all of this, but I ask that you trust in our decisions as they are guided by the health department, state and the administration. Also, as I have said from the beginning and throughout this pandemic, always be ready for any change.
We are applying to possibly become a testing lab site in case the Mohawk Valley or Montgomery County is designated by NYS a Yellow, Orange, or Red zone in accordance with Governor Cuomo’s Micro-Cluster initiative. In order to stay open to in-person learning we would have to test faculty, staff and students. If we are designated a Yellow zone we will have to test 20% of our faculty, staff and students within the first two weeks and make sure that we have a low positivity rate to continue in-person learning. With regarded to the Yellow zone designation, a district can test out after the first two weeks and keep in-person instruction. If we are designated an Orange zone, we will have to test 20% of our faculty, staff, and students over a one month period and continue to do so until we are no longer Orange. With regard to Red, the testing rate increases to 30%. If this does happen, we would like to be ready. If we do decide that testing is the best course of action, we will have to obtain permission from parents to test students. If you would like your child(ren) to be put into a pool for possible testing please go to our website and click “COVID Testing Form” on the top of the site and fill out the entire form for each child. This is not for fully remote students, only hybrid and in-person. Please fill out the form by Sunday, December 20th to be considered. All the students will be pooled and chosen at random to fill the 20% or 30% quota. If your child is randomly selected to be tested, you will receive a phone call the night before to let you know. The form will explain additional details and if you have any questions please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the office at the number below. If you do not want your child(ren) tested, you do not have to do anything as we will only take the students from the forms submitted.
We will keep everyone informed as additional information becomes available. If we do move into a designated zone, we hope to be ready to either test or move to full remote learning. We are currently awaiting approval from the state at this point as our application was sent in last week. We want to make sure we have all options on the table.
Dr. Nick Fitzgerald
Superintendent of Schools