Superintendent’s Message 1.15.2021 Welcome Back!

NEWS

Superintendent’s Message 1.15.2021 Welcome Back!

January 15, 2021

Dear WVCSD Families, Staff, and Students,  

Happy 2021! May this new year bring you and your family good health and much joy. We hope that the holiday recess was good for all. We are very excited to welcome back all of our students to in-person instruction on Tuesday, January 19th! 

We appreciate everyone’s continual efforts to limit the number of infections in our schools. As we begin the second semester, please note that the infection rate in our region is approximately 10 percent. We need to double-down our efforts to be especially mindful of safe COVID practices to weather this storm and avoid disruptions to keep our schools open. We all bear responsibility for and have the ability to protect the health and well-being of students, staff, and families. For example, we all need to adhere to required travel restrictions and quarantine requirements. 

The District continues to employ a multi-layered prevention approach to keeping our students and staff safe: masks, physical distancing, ventilation enhancements, reduced building/bus occupancy, deep cleaning, disinfection, etc. These preventative measures have kept transmissions in our schools extremely low. Our social distancing and other safety precautions have served us well, and we will continue to practice those protocols when students return next week. Please continue to support Warwick’s 3W’s efforts to reduce the risk: wearing masks, washing hands, and watching your distance. 

The safeguarding of our entire community needs everyone’s full support. I urge you to please take a few minutes to read this entire letter, so you are completely aware of the upcoming school schedule and the most up-to-date COVID safety practices and guidance. Most importantly, please keep your children home if they are feeling ill and/or awaiting the results of a COVID test.

 

Student Schedule

Kindergarten – Second Grade: In-person daily instruction resumes for all students on Tuesday, January 19th. 

Third – Twelfth Grade: In-person/hybrid instruction will resume for students on Tuesday, January 19th. 

All students currently participating in the Distance Learning Academy will continue to follow their typical school schedules. 

Specifically, next week’s in-person schedule is as follows:

  • Monday, January 18: No school – Martin Luther King Day
  • Tuesday, January 19: B Day (B Cohort)
  • Wednesday, January 20: C Day (A Cohort)
  • Thursday, January 21: D Day (B Cohort)
  • Friday, January 22: E Day (A Cohort)

Please contact your building principal with any questions. 

 

Daily Health Screener

Everyone must complete the COVID-19 screening survey each morning before their children board buses or enter the schools. It will continue to be sent via email to you each morning. If your child is not feeling well, or you await the results of a COVID-19 test, please do not report to the school building or board the school bus. 

 

COVID Report Card

New York State’s COVID Report Card is available for your review to keep all stakeholders fully informed. The New York State Education Department (NYSED) considers Pine Island ES as a Sanfordville Elementary satellite school. Therefore, the NYSED requires the District to add Pine Island School’s COVID-19 cases to the Sanfordville Elementary report.

 

Testing

Earlier this week, the District sent a survey to gauge parents’ willingness to allow their children to test for COVID-19. At this time, we are not testing students for COVID-19. However, if the state designates our schools to be in a Yellow, Orange, or Red Zone, we will be required to do so to remain open for in-person instruction. 

Upon the receipt of such a designation, the District will be sure to share this news with you.  

No student will test without a consent form and direct communication with the parents/guardians. Each parental consent form is for a single student test, and a parent can be present for the test if he/she wishes.  If the number of testing consent forms returned meets or exceeds the number of students required to test for the zone designation (20% for Yellow and Orange; 30% for Red), the District may be able to remain open for in-person instruction. If we do not receive enough consent forms, New York State will not permit in-person instruction.  We will work with St. Anthony Community Hospital to conduct the testing.  Please anticipate more information, if necessary, and as it becomes available to us. 

 

Quarantine Guidance

Despite in-school transmission being very low, all of our schools have had to take state-mandated quarantine actions when a person who ended up testing positive for COVID-19 entered one of our buildings. One infection often leads to mandatory quarantines of staff, students, and teachers. Those quarantines are disruptive to us all but they are required. The New York State Department of Health will continue this practice for the foreseeable future. As we discussed during our Town Hall meetings in late August, it is important to have a child care plan in place if/when your child is required to quarantine. 

Moreover, the Orange County Department of Health will continue to require a clearance note from a medical provider before returning to in-person instruction for all those who have been quarantined due to testing positive for COVID-19 or being a close contact with someone who has tested positive.  

The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) has indicated a change from a 14-day quarantine to a 10-day quarantine following exposure to another individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 and the district will follow this guidance. The shortened quarantine period – reduced from 14 to 10 days – will be the same for people who are either direct or proximate contacts, per the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH).

Detailed information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about this change can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/more/scientific-brief-options-to-reduce-quarantine.html.

Up-to-date information from New York State on mandatory isolation, mandatory quarantine, and precautionary quarantine can be found here: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/travel-large-gatherings-and-quarantines#quarantines.



Travel Guidance
The latest information from the NYSDOH regarding Travel Quarantine Guidance can be found here: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/covid-19-travel-advisory.

Testing before departing for, and after returning from, a trip to a location designated by the NYSDOH may help an individual reduce their quarantine time. Remote learning (Google Classroom assignments for K-4 and remote instruction for 5-12) are available for families who have traveled to places requiring quarantine.

The Governor’s Executive Order 205.2 provides travel restrictions and testing options. The new testing requirements permit travelers to New York to avoid the mandatory 10-day quarantine period by testing. 

Travelers who were in another state for more than 24 hours: 

  • Must obtain a test within 3 days of departure from a state that is on the travel advisory. 
  • Must quarantine for 3 days upon arrival into New York.
  • On day 4 in New York, you must obtain another COVID test. If both tests are negative, the individual may exit quarantine.

Travelers who do not take a COVID test option may end quarantine after 10 days, provided they are not symptomatic. For general inquiries about travel restrictions, contact the NYS COVID-19 hotline at
1-888-364-3065.



COVID-19 Vaccine
We have received inquiries from staff and parents asking if the district will require COVID-19 vaccines once they are available. The NYSDOH and the New York State Education Department have not indicated that vaccines will be required or that schools will facilitate their administration. I will notify the community if anything changes.

Beginning January 11, 2021, school district workers are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. That said, Governor Cuomo has stated that as vaccine distribution continues to ramp up in these early stages, it could take up to 14 weeks to get vaccinated. While some staff members have begun this process, several await the opportunity to schedule their appointment. 

Welcome back, everyone, and a healthy and happy 2021 to us all! Together, we will continue to maximize in-person learning during the pandemic. Let us remain #WarwickStrong!

Sincerely,

David Leach, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools 

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