COVID update: Grades 7-12 to revert to remote learning until Jan. 4

The following email from the superintendent was sent on Friday afternoon, Dec. 11, 2020:

Dear parents/guardians,

The district learned on Friday morning, Dec. 11 that a second student at Schoharie Jr./Sr. High School has tested positive for COVID-19. 

Contact tracing conducted by the Schoharie County Department of Health, with assistance from district administrators, revealed 19 staff members who are considered close contacts of the two cases. The Department of Health has ordered these 19 staff members to quarantine. Because of this staffing need, the district will move to remote learning in grades 7-12 until after the holiday break.

  • Starting Monday, Dec. 14, grades 7 through 12 at the Jr./Sr. High School will be remote learning only until Monday, Jan. 4. Students will be required to follow their normal class schedules via Google Meet. 
  • BOCES CTE programs will continue in-person learning as scheduled.  
  • Pre-k through grade 5 will continue their in-person learning according to the current schedule.
  • Grade 6 will continue with in-person learning according to the current schedule.
  • Any district student who attends an out of district placement should follow their normal transportation and school schedule.

The District is completing contact tracing and individuals who are to undergo a mandatory quarantine period by the Department of Health will be notified and given instructions. Both the positive case today and the positive result from yesterday were the two presumed positive cases that we had earlier in the week.   

Please note that the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and other privacy laws restrict us from disclosing or confirming any personally identifiable information. We cannot identify anyone who has tested positive or who is presumed to be positive. 

Since the start of the school year, the district has been thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting all portions of our school building that are in use by students and staff, in accordance with guidance from the New York State Department of Health and the CDC. For details about our cleaning procedures, COVID prevention policies, contact tracing, testing and more, please see our Reopening Plan. In addition, a COVID screening is done for all students and staff members prior to the start of the school day. New York’s governor and state health officials have indicated COVID-19 infection rates are lower in schools than in the general community. Contact tracing data shows that in New York State as a whole, at least 65 percent of all infections are now coming from small social gatherings.

As educators, we know that remote learning is not ideal, and too many students are at risk of falling behind. We will continue to work with our local health officials to ensure we can remain open for in-person learning as much as possible, which we believe gives our students the best chance for academic success. But we can’t do it alone. 

How can you help us?

  • Continue to follow COVID safety protocols. Practice the three “Ws”– wear your mask, wash your hands, watch your distance.
  • Limit social gatherings to your immediate household.
  • Be aware that COVID-19 can sometimes be very mild, but remains a serious disease for many people. 
  • Follow quarantine and isolation guidelines as they are communicated to you by your local health department.
  • Participate with contact tracing efforts.

Please contact your child’s principal if you would like more information about our health and safety procedures. We will release more information about this situation as it becomes available.

Any additional questions, including information about contact tracing and testing procedures, can be directed to the Schoharie County Health Department (518) 295-8365.


David Blanchard