October 26, 2021
Dear Parents, Students, and Staff,
Our District continues to see an increase in the number of positive cases of COVID-19 from our students, especially those that are not eligible to be vaccinated at this time. As I write this, we have not had a single case that can be traced to transmission in school. We are, however, seeing more transmission within families; parent to child, and then to siblings. Due to the increase in cases that we are seeing, we are going to be making some changes to our daily procedures in an effort to increase safety.
- Elementary Playground: Previously students were permitted to have their masks off on the playground. Due to the increase in the number of cases in our district and throughout the surrounding areas, the Wayne County Public Health Department is recommending mask wearing by all students on the playground when they are not six feet apart. Additionally, all staff will be wearing masks when outside as an added precaution to keep our unvaccinated students safe. We will begin cohorting playground use as we did last year. Students will be in zones during PAT (Preferred Activity Time). These changes went into effect Friday, October 22, 2021.
- Middle School Outside Time: Again, due to the increase in the number of cases in our district and throughout the surrounding areas, the Wayne County Public Health Department is recommending mask wearing by all students outside when they are not six feet apart. Our middle school students are encouraged to go outside during lunch, and we will continue to encourage this, however, if we see students in close proximity, we will request they put a mask on.
- COVID-19 Assessment Reminders: You have begun receiving reminders about COVID-19 Assessments. While we do not require assessments to be filled out, we ask that you continue to review the questions and adhere to guidelines within those assessments. If you are a staff member and you are feeling sick, do not report to work. If you have a student showing symptoms of illness, do not come to school. This is important for keeping our buildings open for in person learning, and to limit the number of quarantined students and staff we have.
- Covid-19 Testing in School: You may have seen in the news recently that some of the surrounding counties are offering COVID-19 testing in school. We are currently working on a plan to begin implementation of this in our schools and will have information to share with you soon. The tests are non-invasive and will help limit the number of students placed on quarantine. We will be sending out more information about the tests along with permission forms to participate within the next week.
- Covid-19 Vaccine Clinic for Ages 5 and Up: We are working with the Wayne County Public Health Department to set up a vaccine clinic on site like we did last year for our older student population. This clinic would be voluntary, and open to all students, and their families for those aged 5 years or more. If you would be interested in participating in a clinic, please fill out this interest survey. We will share more information and details about the clinic with those that are interested once we have final dates and times.
As I stated previously, we are all tired of COVID-19 at this point. The unfortunate reality is that COVID-19 is not tired of us. We need to continue to remain diligent in following safety procedures and guidelines to keep our students safe and our schools open. Please continue to practice masking, physical distancing and good hand hygiene at home and within the community so we can help contain the spread and keep our school community safe.
Shawn Van Scoy, Ed.D.
Superintendent, Gananda Central School District