The following is a letter that was sent home with students on Monday, March 9:
With the recent news of confirmed cases of COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus, within the Capital Region, district officials are continuing to monitor information from local, state and federal officials.
On Saturday, March 7, Governor Cuomo declared a state of emergency in New York, which gives the state certain purchasing and hiring abilities during this time. This declaration does not impact any school or district activities at this time. Experts have not recommended that the district cancel or reschedule classes or other school events.
State officials continue to emphasize that the general risk to the public is low and that while we all need to be vigilant and cautious, it is also important to stay calm and not contribute to any undue panic.
Regarding travel and quarantine measures, please know that the New York State Department of Health has made quarantine a mandatory measure for individuals returning to the United States from a known high-risk exposure area. Based on this, any student, student family member or employee who has traveled to a known high-risk exposure area should notify the school principal prior to coming to school, as well as the county health department. Schoharie County Department of Health can be reached at 518-295-8365.
For more information, please visit the Center for Disease Control’s web page for coronavirus and travel, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/after-travel-precautions.html
If the district becomes aware that one of our students or staff members is diagnosed with COVID-19, we will notify staff and parents/guardians by phone call, email and text. For now, the most important thing you can do to protect yourself and your children continues to be following standard preventive practices for influenza. There are a number of steps that students, staff and community members can take to minimize the spread of all respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, according to the New York State Department of Health:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Heavily soiled hands should be washed.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
It is important to note that exposure to COVID-19 can occur from any person-to-person contact and is not limited to a particular race or ethnicity.
More information about COVID-19 is available from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html. The state Department of Health also has information available on its website, including a coronavirus hotline: https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/coronavirus/. You can call the hotline at 1-888-364-3065 with questions or concerns about travel and symptoms.
We are preparing to meet the needs of our students and staff in the event the virus affects our community. We are continually cleaning and encouraging hand washing as well as following practices recommended by the Department of Health
We appreciate your support of our district and will share more information as it becomes available on our website: www.schoharieschools.org
Please know that, as always, the health and safety of our students and staff is our highest priority, and we will remain vigilant in our efforts to help prevent the spread of this illness.
David M. Blanchard
Superintendent of Schools