Pandemic Updates

Latest Update

June 21, 2021

The Valley Central School District is aligned closely with a host of advocacy groups to work as proponents for our students and our staff.  The District collaborates with these organizations to ensure the State hears the concerns of our community regarding COVID-19 and the numerous mandates that have changed continuously this school year. 

 If the Board were to disregard mandates and regulations put out by the NYSDOH, OCDOH, and/or NYSED, and refuse to enforce them, the District may be subject to potential enforcement proceedings.   We understand that many of our families are frustrated with the current mandates, however, our recommendation is to continue adherence to the Governor’s Executive Orders, including mask-wearing inside the schools, until that Executive Order is modified.

These are some of the organizations we are a part of and communicate with regularly, to advocate on behalf of the Valley Central School District community.

New York State School Boards Association
NYSSBA communicates directly with Gov. Cuomo and the state Health Department. It was NYSSBA that asked them to consider adopting the three-foot guideline in New York or explain why they believe scientific evidence does not support such a change. NYSSBA issued the following statement. “We have full confidence in our schools, which have proven they can keep children and staff safe in accordance with science”

Orange County School Boards Association
During the current school year, the Orange County School Board’s Association has continuously asked for the guidance being provided to be more clear and fair for all stakeholders. They have stressed to State and local agencies that all districts in NY should be doing the same thing and this is only possible if the guidance is clear and specific. 

New York State Council of School Superintendents
This Council exists for the sole purpose of helping school superintendents and all other members succeed on behalf of the children and communities they serve. Advocacy is one way in which they pursue that goal.  NYSCOSS has been instrumental in helping school district leaders understand the requirements accompanying the federal aid tied to COVID-19. 

The School Superintendents Association
AASA, The School Superintendents Association advocates for equitable access for all students to the highest quality public education and develops and supports school system leaders. This year they launched an advisory panel to assist district leaders as they grappled with the challenges caused by the coronavirus. Recently, AASA created an online platform to help its members share communications strategies, resources, and ideas, engage with colleagues across the nation and grow professional learning communities. 

Orange County Chiefs
Superintendent Xanthis has participated in over 110 meetings this school year with the other Orange County Superintendents.  The primary focus of these meetings is the mandates and guidelines imposed by the local and State agencies in regards to COVID-19. Orange County Health Officials have been part of these calls on numerous occasions.  The Orange County superintendents have been united in their advocacy efforts this year. 

The Orange-Ulster BOCES Instructional Council
The BIC meets monthly under the direction of Terry Reynolds.  This forum provides the opportunity for the Assistant Superintendents to share information from their districts to help maintain consistency in COVID-19 procedures and protocols. 

School Administrators Association of New York
SAANYS provides its membership with a unified voice to influence legislation and policymaking. This organization makes sure that members’ opinions are heard on important issues including COVID 19 mandates. They meet regularly with the Governor’s Office to provide the perspectives of their members and make sure there is an accurate understanding of the state’s policies. 

New York State United Teachers
Recently NYSUT put out the following statement: “Educators know that being in-person is the best way for students to learn and for teachers to teach. We support offering full-time in-person instruction five days a week and await formal guidance for the fall on how districts, working with educators and parents, should construct their plans to bring all students back to the classroom.”

June 8, 2021

The Valley Central School District understands your concerns in regards to the wearing of masks as the temperature during these last days of school begins to increase.  Mask requirements indoors are not a local decision and school districts are not at liberty to disregard directives from the NYS Department of Health and the NYS Education Department. We must work in collaboration with these agencies, our school medical director, our board of education and our district attorneys when considering any changes to protocol. The following are the current protocols that Valley Central is following:

  • As stated in our letter that went out on June 6, if a student or staff member cannot tolerate the heat with their mask on indoors, they may remove it, as long as they stay 6 feet from other people. Yesterday Governor Cuomo announced that indoor mask requirements have not changed. Therefore, we will continue to follow this protocol until notified otherwise.
  • Last night, we received notification that the NYS Department of Heath updated their guidance: Updated NYSDOH Guidance. As of yesterday, facemasks are not required to be worn outdoors on school grounds, including during outdoor school sports. No student, teacher, staff member or visitor may be prevented from wearing an acceptable facemask voluntarily on school grounds.  This guidance reiterates the Governor’s announcement that indoor mask requirements (including while students are being transported by bus, e.g., entering, exiting and seated) have not changed.

 Although the indoor mask requirements have not changed, Valley Central has placed the following procedure in place:

  • Teachers will continue to allow frequent mask breaks, as much as needed, when students are six feet apart. Faculty and staff may do the same.
  • Students are physically distanced as much as possible to allow for these frequent mask breaks.
  • Teachers will continue to engage in outdoor learning opportunities as much as possible in order to provide students with more time when they can go without a mask.

The Valley Central School District has read all of your emails asking for the removal of masks.  While we empathize with your concerns, please understand that we must comply with the current regulations and guidance.  The safety and security of our students and our staff are of primary importance.  The procedure above will allow us to comply with the guidance and regulations and at the same time do all we can to meet the needs of our community.

Thank you for your continued support of the Valley Central School District.

June 6, 2021

On Friday, June 4, Dr. Howard A. Zucker, Commissioner of the New York State Department of Health, issued a letter  to the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding New York State’s intent to align mask guidance for school settings with the CDC’s guidance for youth camps beginning Monday, June 7, 2021. In this letter, districts had been advised that they could waive the mask mandate unless the CDC advised of contrary science or data. 

However, a short time ago today, the State Education Department sent the following message to superintendents and other school stakeholders:

“As of September 1, 2020, school districts were permitted to reopen, under Executive Order 202.60, “subject to adherence to Department of Health issued guidance and directives.” These have included the submission of reopening plans to address, among other things, distancing and health requirements.

SED has been in communication with Executive staff regarding the attached letter from Dr. Howard Zucker, New York State Commissioner of Health. According to conversations with Executive staff, the intent of this letter was to obtain a response from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) regarding differing standards for summer camps and schools; it has not changed any existing arrangements. Therefore, schools should continue to operate under their existing procedures until further notice. No changes have been, or will be, made by the Executive until after Monday June 7 to afford the CDC an opportunity to respond to the letter.”

We are aware that the extreme heat may make it medically intolerable for students or staff to wear their masks. If a student or staff member cannot tolerate the heat with their mask on, they may remove it as long as they stay 6 feet from other people.  Valley Central will notify the community about any changes to the mask mandate once they have been finalized.  

May 27, 2021

I am happy to announce that we are now on our third straight week with no COVID 19 positive cases to report. I could not be happier about the dropping positivity percentages and I am just as eager as everyone for a return to normal 

Valley Central School District continues to follow all NYSDOH and NYSED rules, protocols, and guidelines. 

Per the April 2021 NYSDOH Interim guidance for schools,  “Responsible parties must maintain protocols and procedures for students, faculty, staff, and other individuals to ensure appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) is used to protect against the transmission of the COVID-19 virus when on school grounds and in school facilities. Specifically, appropriate PPE means, at least, an acceptable mask, which is required to be worn by all individuals in all classroom and non-classroom settings, including but not limited to hallways, school offices, restrooms, gyms, auditoriums, etc.”  School sponsored events, per the NYSDOH, such as field days and field trips, are required to meet the guidelines set forth by NYSDOH related to schools as mentioned above.

NYSDOH Guidance this week states that children ages 2-5 years of age are encouraged but no longer required to wear a mask in daycare, summer camps, and child care programs. This new guidance does not affect any of our schools / students currently. 

Schools must continue to follow all guidance by the NYSDOH.  

Students and staff, when 6 feet apart outside, may take off their masks for mask breaks.  If seated outside 6 feet apart or eating, they may take off their masks.  All students and staff are allowed mask breaks. With the warmer weather, mask breaks will be more frequent and classes may be held outside if spacing is appropriate.  

At this time the Valley Central School District is making plans for the 2021-2022 school year. It is our intent to bring all students back to 100% in person learning.  We will send out more information as guidance is provided from the state.

May 14, 2021

I am pleased to report that this is the second straight week that there have been no positive COVID 19 cases reported in the Valley Central School District. As of yesterday, the statewide positivity rate was 1.1%. In Orange County the rate yesterday was 1.2%.  

At this time we are beginning to think about our plans for the 2021-2022 school year. We are eager to have all students back for in-person instruction. I will be sending out a survey before Memorial Day weekend to gather feedback from the community.

Thank you for your continued support of the Valley Central School District.

May 7, 2021

It has been  a very good week for the Vikings. Students in grades K-12 that chose 5 days a week in-person instruction are all back in a full week program. I am very happy to report that we have had no COVID positive cases in the district this week and there has been no need to quarantine any staff or students. The statewide positivity rate is 1.27% which is the lowest since October. The rate has been dropping in Orange County and yesterday it was 2%. Things are looking up and we are very grateful and appreciative of the collaboration and cooperation between all Valley Central stakeholders.
 
As a reminder, school is in session on Thursday, May 27th, due to the use of four snow days.
We have been working on extensive plans for summer school. If you child has been invited to one of our programs, I encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity. The elementary summer program will be academic in nature, but will also include fun activities and snacks to keep our young learners engaged.
 
Thank you for your continued support of the Valley Central School District.
Happy Mother Day to all our hard-working moms!

April 29, 2021

This week our Valley Central sixth graders, eleventh graders and twelfth graders joined our elementary students in returning to five days a week in-person instruction. Teachers, parents and students are reporting about the benefits they are experiencing already. This was only possible through collaboration with administrators, teachers, staff members and families.  Thank you to everyone who made this possible. 

The Middle School team has been working diligently to determine the safest way to bring our seventh and eighth graders back to school five days a week as soon as possible.  Beginning Wednesday, May 5th, our seventh and eighth graders will return to the building for five days a week of in-person instruction, if they had previously chosen this method of instruction. Due to NYS testing on Monday and Tuesday, we feel this is the best time to make this transition. 

As a reminder, ninth and tenth graders who chose 5 days a week instruction will begin that program on Monday, May 3rd. 

As you are aware, the new guidance states that schools must request feedback from parents prior to initiating such a change. The Valley Central School District held a Zoom meeting on Wednesday, April 21st and we were able to hear from many of you and answer your questions. However, if you have any additional questions or concerns that you have not brought to our attention, I ask that you please email me at marianne.serratore@vcsdny.org. 

Our District Nurse Coordinator has been in communication with the OCDOH, as well as our District Medical Director.  Because there is no data showing increased cases with just quarantining surrounding students six feet apart and because of the new guidelines, we have recently changed our quarantine practice. With increased ventilation, masks, the use of seating charts and other means, we will now be able to only quarantine students that have been within 6 feet of a person that tested positive for COVID 19.  This will decrease the number of students needing to quarantine and allow for less disruption to their lives. 

Thank you for your continued support of the Valley Central School District.

April 23, 2021

During the current week, we had 4 students who tested positive for COVID 19.
Two High School 100%  remote instruction students
A Middle School student
A Berea Elementary student

As always, all staff members and parents of students that needed to quarantine were notified and these cases were reported on the CDC dashboard, as is required. You can access that information here: https://schoolcovidreportcard.health.ny.gov/#/home
 
Yesterday you were provided with an update of our instructional plan. Our last hurdle is to get 7th and 8th graders in for five days a week in-person instruction. In order to do so, we need more supervision for lunches and study halls.  If you are interested in a substitute supervision paraprofessional position, please contact the Human Resources Office at extension 18119.
Thank you for your continued support of the Valley Central School District.

April 21, 2021

The District held a Community Conversation via Zoom to discuss where the District is with the return to in-person instruction and other COVID-related issues. 

Our Elementary Schools welcomed our K-5 students who wanted to return to 5 days a week, in-person instruction back on April 12th.  Things have gone exceptionally well with their return. There is a 100% online option for students who have chosen that model, but there is no longer a hybrid model at the elementary level. 

On Monday, April 26th, the High School is excited to be welcoming back our 11th and 12th graders who have selected to return to 5 days a week in-person instruction. Classroom capacity and class schedules have been scrutinized period by period to ensure that all the students who want to return to 5 days a week, in-person instruction are able to do so. 

Also on Monday, April 26th the Middle School will welcome back our 6th graders who have selected to return to 5 days a week in-person instruction.

As of April 26th, there will no longer be a hybrid model available to 6th, 11th,  and 12th graders.  The 100% online option does remain in these grades for students who selected that model. 

On Monday, May 3rd , the 9th and 10th grade students who selected to return to 5  days a week in-person instruction will be able to do so. Again, the hybrid model will be eliminated for these two grade levels while the 100% online option remains for those who wish to remain remote. 

Bringing back the 7th and 8th graders is proving to be a challenge due to cohort requirements, physical space available, and the number of students who wish to return.  The 7th and 8th grade will continue with the hybrid model and the remote model as the administration at the Middle School works diligently to bring as many 7th and 8th graders who wish to return to a  5 days a week in-person instruction as they can physically accommodate while meeting cohort requirements. 

Students and staff throughout the district are required to wear masks in the buildings, continue to social distance, and are encouraged to wash their hands as often as possible.

 

April 16, 2021

Our first week back of five day in-person instruction for elementary students went very well. The teachers and administrators, as well as our students and families, are to be commended for their flexibility and willingness to make this work.  

Our Reopening Task Force has been reviewing the updated guidance and we are working to determine a way in which we can safely bring back our 6-12 students five days a week. The secondary principals are working with their teams to determine if they can bring back all secondary students that have requested 5 days a week in-person instruction, while maintaining the six feet distance requirements.  You may be getting a call from your secondary administrators early next week in order to assist us in updating our plan. 

We would like your feedback and will have another Zoom meeting on Wednesday, April 21st at 6:30 p.m. in order to answer any questions you may have on the most recent guidelines. You can access the Zoom meeting with this link: https://zoom.us/j/93498505233?pwd=dVJOWThZS3F4azFJMzVqWVRIU1Z3UT09

Please submit your questions ahead of time using this Google Form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1iR5oeSmPcpsC07-V5x7iNCr9ZtBL9Wp4-RyD6lFsAsk/edit

There have been some questions concerning the reporting of positive COVID- 19 cases in the district. There were eight positive COVID-19 cases reported to us this week involving a mix of students and staff.  As always, all staff members and parents of students that needed to quarantine were notified and these cases were reported on the CDC dashboard, as is required. You can access that information here: https://schoolcovidreportcard.health.ny.gov/#/home

When a positive COVID-19 case results in the closing of a building, or the need for an entire grade level or team to learn from home remotely, we will send out a message that day.  Otherwise you can expect a COVID-19 update every Friday afternoon. As a reminder, Wednesday, April 21st is a Secondary Team 1 in-person day. 

Thank you for your continued support of the Valley Central School District.

April 5, 2021

Over the break we were made aware of several Valley Central students and staff members who tested positive for COVID 19. However, all buildings are open.

  • The Valley Central High School reported one positive staff member and two positive students.

  • Berea Elementary School reported one positive staff member and one positive student.

As a reminder, in order to allow teachers and staff to adequately prepare for the arrival of students for five day a week instruction, we are going to have one recalibration day for elementary staff and one for our secondary staff. Teachers will use this time to prepare the classrooms, ensure classlists are correct, answer questions from parents and ensure we are ready for this change in instruction. 

Tomorrow,  Tuesday April 6th, ALL elementary students will participate in asynchronous instruction where teachers will post assignments online and students will learn from home.  For secondary students, tomorrow, Tuesday, April 6th, Team 2 reports in-person.

On Wednesday, April 7th, ALL Middle School and High School students will participate in asynchronous instruction. For elementary students, this Wednesday, April 7th, Elementary Team 1 reports in-person.

 Also as a reminder, our hybrid method of instruction will be phased out according to the following schedule:

April 12th – All kindergarten through sixth and ninth grade students that have chosen 5 days a week in person learning will begin the new model. There will be no hybrid instruction for grades K-6 and grade 9.

Secondary Team 2 reports in-person on Wednesday, April 14th

April 19th –All seventh and tenth grade students that have chosen 5 days a week in person learning will begin the new model. There will be no hybrid instruction for grades 7 and 10.

Secondary Team 1 reports in-person on Wednesday,   April 21st 

April 26th – All eighth, eleventh and twelfth grade students that have chosen 5 days a week in person learning will begin the new model. There will be no hybrid instruction for grades 8,11,and 12.

In-person students who are subject to quarantine will be provided with online instruction.  In-person students who do not come to school will be marked absent. 

If you are able to transport your children to and from school we continue to encourage you to do so. Returning online students that have requested transportation are being notified of pickup and dropoff times. Students of the same household must sit together while on the bus. If you have previously indicated that you will self transport and now need busing, please contact transportation@vcsdny.org before boarding any bus. Students on buses that are over capacity will be subject to quarantine. 

This information is also posted on our website which can be found at: Changes to VC Instructional Plan  Thank you for your continued support of the Valley Central School District.

March 24, 2021

Yesterday, Tuesday, March 23nd, we were made aware of the following:

  • A Berea Elementary School student tested positive for COVID-19.

All staff members and parents of students that need to quarantine have been notified. This does not affect the building staying opened. 

Today, Wednesday, March 24th, we were made aware of the following:

  • A Valley Central Middle School student tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, the entire Sixth Grade Green Team will be on remote instruction, tomorrow March 25th.  All staff members and parents of students that need to quarantine have been notified. This does not affect the building staying opened. 

Thank you for your continued support of the Valley Central School District.

March 22, 2021

Monday, March 22nd, we were made aware of the following:

  • One Berea Elementary School staff member and three Berea students tested positive for COVID 19.

All staff members and parents of students that need to quarantine have been notified. This does not affect the building staying opened. 

  • Two Montgomery Elementary School students and one MES staff member tested positive for COVID 19.

All staff members and parents of students that need to quarantine have been notified. This does not affect the building staying opened. 

  • Four Valley Central High School students tested positive for COVID 19.

All staff members and parents of students that need to quarantine have been  notified. This does not affect the building staying opened. 

  • A Valley Central Middle School student tested positive for COVID 19.

All staff members and parents of students that need to quarantine have been notified. This does not affect the building staying opened. 

Thank you for your continued support of the Valley Central School District.

March 21, 2021

This weekend we were made aware of the following:

  • A Walden Elementary School staff member tested positive for COVID-19.

All staff members and parents of students that need to quarantine have been notified. This does not affect the building staying opened. 

  • Three Montgomery Elementary School students tested positive for COVID-19.

All staff members and parents of students that need to quarantine and cannot attend school tomorrow have been notified. All others will be notified in the morning. This does not affect the building staying opened. 

  • A Valley Central High School student tested positive for COVID-19.

All staff members and parents of students that need to quarantine are in the process of being notified. This does not affect the building staying opened. 

March 18, 2021

Today, Thursday, March 18th, we were made aware of the following:

  • An East Coldenham Elementary School staff member tested positive for COVID 19.

All staff members and parents of students that need to quarantine have been notified. This does not affect the building staying opened. 

Thank you for your continued support of the Valley Central School District.

March 17, 2021

Today, Wednesday, March 17th, we were made aware of the following:

  • A Berea Elementary School staff member tested positive for COVID 19. All staff members and parents of students that need to quarantine have been notified. This does not affect the building staying opened.   

  • A Montgomery Elementary School student tested positive for COVID 19.All staff members and parents of students that need to quarantine will be notified tonight. This does not affect the building staying opened.   

 Thank you for your continued support of the Valley Central School District.

March 15, 2021

Today, Monday, March 15th, we were made aware of the following:

  • A Valley Central Middle School student tested positive for COVID 19.

 

  • Two Valley Central High School students tested positive for COVID 19.

 

All staff members and parents of students that need to quarantine have been notified. No other changes to the schedules need to be made at this time. 

Thank you for your continued support of the Valley Central School District.

March 11, 2021

Today, March 11th, we were made aware of a Walden Elementary School staff member who tested positive for COVID-19.  Parents of students and staff members that need to quarantine were notified.  

March 10, 2021

Today, Wednesday, March 10th, we were informed of two Valley Central High School students that tested positive for COVID 19. Due to the large number of teachers that are now in quarantine, all Valley Central High School students, excluding our life skills and basic skills students, will be on remote instruction until the end of the week. We will send an update on Friday, March 12th.  I apologize for the inconvenience.  The lack of physical bodies in the buildings makes it impossible to have in person instruction.  

All AM CTEC students will come in on their regular HS morning runs.  After CTEC, anyone who has signed up to provide their own transportation will be dropped off at the High School.  All others will be brought directly home. 

PM CTEC students will utilize their Wednesday routes for both their AM and PM runs.

All staff that are not in quarantine will report to the buildings.


I am sorry to have to send two announcements in one day. Just recently, after the first announcement went out, we were informed of the following. 

  • An additional high school student tested positive for COVID 19.

  • An Alternative Learning Center student tested positive for COVID 19.

There are no changes for the High School from the previous message. We will provide an update on return dates this Friday. 

All ALC students, excluding grades five and six and Viking Academy students, will be on remote instruction through Friday, March 19th. They may return to school on Monday, March 22nd. 

All staff members and parents of students who need to quarantine will be notified.

All staff that are not in quarantine will report to the buildings.

March 9, 2021

This letter is to serve as an update in regards to the Valley Central High School. Tomorrow, Wednesday, March 10th, all life skills students and seniors will resume with their normal schedules. All ninth, tenth and eleventh grade students will remain on remote instruction until Monday, March 15th.

All AM CTEC students will come in on their regular HS morning runs.  After CTEC, seniors will be dropped off at the HS along with anyone who has signed up to provide their own transportation.  All others will be brought directly home. 

PM CTEC students will utilize their Wednesday routes for both their AM and PM runs.

All staff that are not in quarantine will report to the buildings.

March 8, 2021

Today March 8th, we were made aware of a Valley Central High School student who tested positive for COVID 19.  Parents of students and staff members that need to quarantine are being notified.  As a result, all students, excluding our Life Skills students, will participate in remote learning tomorrow, Tuesday, March 9th. We will reevaluate the situation and provide an update tomorrow.

In addition, today, March 8th, we were also notified that a Valley Central Middle School student tested positive for COVID 19.  Parents of students and staff members that need to quarantine are being notified. As a result, the 7th Grade Green Team will participate in remote learning tomorrow, Tuesday, March 9th, through Friday, March 12th.  They may return to school on Monday, March 15th as per the normal schedule. 

All staff that are not in quarantine will report to the buildings.

March 6, 2021

Yesterday, March 5th, we were made aware of a Valley Central Alternative Learning Center student who tested positive for COVID 19.  Parents of students and staff members that need to quarantine were notified. 

As a result, all 7th and 8th grade Alternative Learning Center students will participate in remote learning through March 15th. They may return to the Alternative Learning Center on Tuesday, March 16th. All other Alternative Learning Center and Viking Academy students may report to the building this coming Monday.

Some Important Reminders

 

  • On Wednesday, March 10th at 6:30 p.m. Valley Central is hosting a live Zoom Meeting to answer your questions. There will be up to 975 seats available in the meeting, however it will also be streamed on our Youtube Channel. The link to join the Zoom meeting is https://zoom.us/j/93144750508

March 1, 2021

Today, March 1st, we were made aware of a Valley Central Middle School student who tested positive for COVID-19.  Parents of students and staff members that need to quarantine were notified. 

Unfortunately,  due to numerous teachers in quarantine, the 6th grade gold team will be on 100% remote through Friday, March 5th and can return on Monday, March 8th, as per the normal schedule.

As a reminder from last week:

  • Students  who have Ms. Gonyo and Ms. McGovern, as these students will remain on remote instruction until Monday, March 8, 2021.

  • All 8th graders will remain on remote instruction until Monday, March 8, 2021, with the exception of those who attend Viking Academy and those who have Ms. Stafford and Ms. Laurene Williams. These students can continue to attend in-person beginning Monday, March 1st, as scheduled.

  • If a student has been informed to be quarantined due to an exposure, they are to remain on remote instruction through their return date.

February 25, 2021

Today, February 25, 2021, we were notified that two Valley Central Middle School students tested positive for COVID 19. In addition, a Valley Central High School staff member tested positive. We are in the process of contact tracing. Parents of students and staff members that need to quarantine will be notified. 

Due to the number of Middle School staff members in quarantine, coupled with normal absences, the entire Middle School will be participating in remote learning tomorrow, Friday, February 26th.  Further updates will be sent out over the weekend. All staff members that are not quarantined will report to the building. 

We will continue to keep our school community informed regarding how this virus is affecting our schools.  

February 16, 2021

We are aware that there is a great deal of misinformation circulating and that a statement was recently released by the Orange County Department of Health implying that it was the fault of the schools if they could not open five days a week.  The county’s statement does not accurately reflect the reality of the situation. They are correct to say that some schools have been able to open five days a week, however this is for certain populations. There are many variables that determine whether a district can do this or not. The variables are space, student population requesting in person instruction, and the number of staff members available.  As a recap, it is important to remember the following:

  • The Valley Central School District was the largest district in Orange County to open on time in September for Grades K-12.
  • Our self-contained students, as well as our ALC and Viking Academy students, have been coming back to school five days a week since September.
  • Our ENL students were recently provided the opportunity to come back five days a week.
  • At the secondary schools there is a Team 4 Days a Week for at-risk students which is now moving to five days a week. 
  • We are offering our at-risk twelfth grade students the opportunity to come back five days a week to assist in ensuring they are able to graduate.
  • We recently added Wednesday as an in-person instructional day on an alternating basis for Team 1 and Team 2.
  • We recently surveyed all elementary families to determine if they would like to switch their instructional method.  Elementary principals are working to ensure that for the third trimester every spot is filled each day.
  • Beginning in March, all teachers will stream their classes in order to ensure that students at home are in contact with their teachers and peers daily. Although this has already been happening in most classrooms, it will be a District-wide practice beginning March 1st. 

On February 12th, the CDC released an Operational Strategy Document for K-12 Schools. Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools through Phased Mitigation  Please feel free to take a look at it.  You will see that Valley Central has been following the recommendations outlined in this document since the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year.  This document stresses the use of masks and physical distancing. This document does not imply that schools will be able to open 5 days a week, under the current circumstances.  On page 2 of this document the CDC states (and the OCDOH) agrees: “Physical distancing (at least 6 feet) should be maximized to the greatest extent possible”.   This means that there is a set number of students that we can allow in any given classroom or cafeteria, etc…  We are working to ensure that every one of these spaces are filled. 

We have also made you aware that the quarantine rules force us to quarantine many staff members when a student tests positive. One positive student can result in an average of ten teachers being quarantined. Lack of staffing in the buildings results in the District moving to online learning for short periods for different teams or grade levels.  You can find information about quarantine rules here: 

https://www.orangecountygov.com/DocumentCenter/View/19923/Contacts-of-Contacts-Guidance-DOH?bidId=

You will see in this document that if a person is diagnosed with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19, a close or proximate contact of that person is subjected to mandatory quarantine.  While a close contact is defined as “being within 6 feet of a person displaying symptoms of COVID-19 or someone who has tested positive of COVID-19” a proximate contact is defined as “being in the same enclosed environment such as a classroom, office, or gatherings but greater than 6 feet from a person displaying symptoms of COVID-19 or someone who has tested positive for COVID-19”.

Until these mandatory quarantine rules are relaxed, schools will continue to be opening and closing their doors on a regular basis.  While this will not affect the elementary schools as much, it greatly impacts our secondary schools. We know how frustrating this is and we want you to know that there is nothing more important to us than getting our students back to in-person classes five days a week. We will continue working to make this happen. The District will be holding a Zoom meeting to answer many of your questions.  More information about when this will take place will be sent out shortly. 

February 9, 2021

Tomorrow, Wednesday, February 10th, the Valley Central High School will resume in-person instruction as per the schedule.

Due to the number of middle school staff members quarantined, all eighth grade teams, including the 15:1 classes, will be on 100% remote instruction through Friday, February 12th.  All staff members not quarantined will report to the building. 

Eighth grade Viking Academy students and eighth grade 12:1:1 students, along with all sixth and seventh grade teams, will resume in-person instruction as per the schedule.

We will continue to keep our school community informed regarding how this virus is affecting our schools.  We will continue to communicate changes and updates with you. 

February 8, 2021

Today, February 8, 2021, we were notified that a Valley Central Middle School student tested positive for COVID 19. We are in the process of contact tracing. Parents of students and staff members that need to quarantine have been or will be notified shortly.
Due to the number of Middle School staff members in quarantine, coupled with normal absences, we do not have the staffing available at the Valley Central Middle School for in person instruction tomorrow, February 9th. Therefore all Middle School students, except Viking Academy students, will participate in remote learning.  All teachers that are not quarantined will report to the building. We will send an updated message tomorrow afternoon to give you specifics as to the rest of the week. We will do our best to bring in as many students as possible. I apologize for the inconvenience.
In addition , we were also notified today that a Valley Central High School staff member and a student tested positive for COVID 19.  There was no contact tracing necessary for these cases.
We will continue to keep our school community informed regarding how this virus is affecting our schools.  We will continue to communicate changes and updates with you.

February 5, 2021

The Valley Central High School will continue with remote instruction on Monday February 8, 2021. This is for all students except self contained life skills students and CTEC students. 

The morning CTEC students will be picked up as normal and will be brought directly home from BOCES, or to the High School if they have their own transportation.

We will utilize the Wednesday Only routes for the afternoon CTEC students.

It is our hope that instruction will resume as normal on Tuesday, February 9th. 

We will continue to keep our school community informed regarding how this virus is affecting our schools.  We will continue to communicate changes and updates with you. 

February 4, 2021

Due to the number of high school staff members in quarantine, coupled with normal absences, we do not have the staffing available at the Valley Central High School for in person instruction tomorrow, February 5th. Therefore all students, except self contained life skills students, will participate in remote learning.  All teachers and staff that are not quarantined will report to the building. I apologize for the inconvenience. As we have stated before, the quarantine rules in Orange County make it incredibly difficult to staff our secondary buildings. 

The morning CTEC students will be picked up as normal and will be brought directly home from BOCES, or to the High School if they have their own transportation.

We will utilize the Wednesday Only routes for the afternoon CTEC students.
In addition, today, February 4th, we were notified that 2 East Coldenham students tested positive for COVID 19.  There was no contact tracing necessary for these students.

We will continue to keep our school community informed regarding how this virus is affecting our schools.  We will continue to communicate changes and updates with you. 

February 3, 2021

We were notified today that a Valley Central High School student tested positive for COVID 19.  In addition, we were notified that an East Coldenham student and an East Coldenham staff member tested positive for COVID 19.

We are in close contact with the Orange County Department of Health (OCDOH) to assist with the identification and contact of the staff members and parents/guardians of all students that were probable direct, close or proximate contacts with the infected individual in the classroom/school building or on the school bus.  The OCDOH makes the final determination as to who is considered a close or proximate contact. All individuals will be notified if there is a need for quarantine.

The buildings are cleaned and disinfected in accordance with the guidance of the New York State Department of Health. 

We will continue to keep our school community informed regarding how this virus is affecting our schools.  We will continue to communicate changes and updates with you. 

January 29, 2021

We were notified today that a High School Staff Member tested positive for COVID 19. 

We are in close contact with the Orange County Department of Health (OCDOH) to assist with the identification and contact of the staff members and parents/guardians of all students that were probable direct, close or proximate contacts with the infected individual in the classroom/school building or on the school bus.  The OCDOH makes the final determination as to who is considered a close or proximate contact. All individuals will be notified if there is a need for quarantine.

We were notified last night that a Montgomery Elementary School staff member tested positive for COVID 19. This did not affect any Valley Central students or staff members.

The buildings are cleaned and disinfected in accordance with the guidance of the New York State Department of Health. 

We will continue to keep our school community informed regarding how this virus is affecting our schools.  We will continue to communicate changes and updates with you. 

January 25, 2021

We were notified today, January 25th, that three students, in various grades, at Montgomery Elementary School tested positive for COVID 19. 

We have been  in  close contact with the Orange County Department of Health (OCDOH) to assist with the identification and contact of the staff members and parents/guardians of all students that were probable direct, close or proximate contacts with the infected individual in the classroom/school building or on the school bus.  The OCDOH makes the final determination as to who is considered a close or proximate contact. Students and staff members that need to quarantine have been notified. 

The buildings will be cleaned and disinfected in accordance with the guidance of the New York State Department of Health. 

We will continue to keep our school community informed regarding how this virus is affecting our schools.  We will continue to communicate changes and updates with you. 

January 23, 2021

We were notified today, January 23rd, that a Valley Central Middle School student tested positive for COVID 19.  This will affect the Eighth Grade Blue Team. All Eight Grade Blue Team Students will be on remote instruction through Friday, January 29, 2021.  Students needing to quarantine will be contacted on Monday, January 25th.  Middle School staff affected will be contacted by the building administration this weekend.

When the Orange County Department of Health (OCDOH) opens on Monday, we will be in  close contact with them to assist with the identification and contact of the parents/guardians of all students that were probable direct, close or proximate contacts with the infected individual in the classroom/school building or on the school bus.  The OCDOH will make the final determination as to who is considered a close or proximate contact. 

In addition,  yesterday we were notified that a staff member at East Coldenham Elementary School tested positive for COVID 19.  Students and staff members needing to quarantine were notified. 

The buildings will be cleaned and disinfected in accordance with the guidance of the New York State Department of Health. 

We will continue to keep our school community informed regarding how this virus is affecting our schools.  We will continue to communicate changes and updates with you. 

January 22, 2021

Now that students are back in the school buildings, the Valley Central School District will send home correspondence about COVID 19 positive cases that result in students and staff being quarantined and/or result in a building being closed.  While there may be additional cases reported on the dashboard, we will only send home notices of those positive cases that affect in-person students and staff. 

On the night of January 21st we were made aware of a staff member at East Coldenham Elementary School that tested positive for COVID 19. We have been in  contact with the Orange County Department of Health (OCDOH) to assist them with the identification and contact of the staff members and parents/guardians of all students that were probable direct, close or proximate contacts with the infected individual in the classroom/school building or on the school bus.  The OCDOH will make the final determination as to who is considered a close or proximate contact. 

The building has been cleaned and disinfected in accordance with the guidance of the New York State Department of Health. 

We will continue to keep our school community informed regarding how this virus is affecting our schools.  We will continue to communicate changes and updates with you. 

January 7, 2021

We are very confident that 2021 is going to be a positive year for the Valley Central community.  Opening our doors for in-school instruction in a safe manner is our top priority. 

We will return to our hybrid model beginning on Tuesday, January 19th. In order to increase the amount of in-person instruction, we will bring students back into the buildings on Wednesdays, beginning Wednesday, February 3rd.  Because Team 1 has received less in-person instruction than Team 2, Team 1 will attend school every Wednesday during the month of February.  Beginning in March, we will alternate in-person instruction for Team 1 and Team 2, however, we will provide a few extra days for Team 1 to make it equitable. A calendar will be provided shortly specifying the days. 

It is very important for all of you to know that at this time if the District is designated a Yellow, Orange, or Red Zone by the Department of Health, we will be required to test 20%-30% of our students and staff over the period of a month.  We have partnered with Horizon Medical to perform the COVID-19 testing for our staff and students, should we require mandatory testing by NYS to remain open.  Testing will be done only if we fall in a Yellow, Orange, or Red Zone, as determined by the OCDOH.  Medical insurance, if applicable, will be billed.  No copays apply.  Only students and staff who have consented will be tested. If you will consent to have your child tested, please fill out these forms as soon as possible and email them back to the school nurse in your child(ren)’s school building. Parents must give consent for a student to be tested by filling out the VC COVID Testing Form and the HIPAA Universal Form.   The contact information for each building’s school nurse is found on the Health Services Page of our website. 

As we have experienced, the protocols for quarantine may make it difficult for us to keep our doors open, especially at the secondary level. We assure you we will do our best, however the landscape changes very quickly and we all need to remain flexible.

If you have not completed the following form to provide us with feedback, please take a moment to do so. You can access the form here:Parent Feedback Form.  Your input is very valuable to us and assists us in making decisions as we move forward.

Lastly, I would like to let you know that Wednesday, January 13th will be an asynchronous learning day.  Teachers will post assignments and videos, however, they will not be available for synchronous learning. We are using this day as a recalibration day in order to best prepare for the return of students to the buildings.

We have been assured by state and local officials that school buildings are one of the safest places to be. As always, please feel free to contact Central Office at any time with questions or concerns.

Respectfully,

John Xanthis, Superintendent
Marianne Serratore, Asst. Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction and COVID Officer
William Miller, Asst. Superintendent for Human Resources
Brad Conklin, School Business Official

January 5, 2021

As we continue to face the many educational challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Valley Central School District administration would like to remind our families that it is District policy that remote learning sessions and content are not to be recorded in any manner (including by video, photos, or screenshots), without the prior permission of an authorized school staff member.

This applies not only to students but also to other family
members. We would also like to advise parents that they should refrain from being physically present and observing remote lessons, except as may be necessary for our younger learners.

The District reserves the right to take any action it deems lawful and necessary should it become aware that remote learning sessions have been recorded, uploaded, posted, transmitted, or otherwise disseminated to social media accounts, without prior authorization.

January 4, 2021

Erin Ray Pascaretti, RD, MPH, an epidemiologist with the OC Dept. of Health has provided the following regarding quarantine guidelines: 

“The Orange County Department of Health is following New York State Department of Heath guidance surrounding quarantine

Quarantine for individuals exposed to COVID-19 can end after ten days without a testing requirement if no symptoms have been reported during the quarantine period. Symptomatic individuals must continue to quarantine and contact their treating medical provider for testing and clearance. Any residents who are currently on quarantine will be transitioned in CommCare and will be notified by the contact tracers of this change after December 26th, when the guidance was published.

Please be aware that the incubation for the virus has NOT changed and up to 10% of exposed persons will become positive on day 11-14. Individuals must continue to self-monitor for symptoms and cannot return to school if they become symptomatic. With the new NYSDOH guidelines that are based on updated CDC protocols for shortened duration of quarantine, it is probable and likely that more asymptomatic individuals that are positive for COVID-19 will present to congregate settings in-person. 

It is important to note that individuals that have incubated the corona virus post-exposure (with or without a positive laboratory test) continue to be contagious, despite lack of symptoms, and may pass on the virus to others. Hence the need to continue adhering to strict COVID-19 safety protocols such as masking and social distancing, as well as proper hand hygiene, etc. 

A doctor’s note will continue to be required after individual tests positive for COVID-19, is symptomatic or is on quarantine after exposure to a positive COVID-19 individual.” 

Valley Central must follow the OC Dept of Health guidelines and policies in dealing with COVID-19 exposures. 

December 18, 2020

This letter is to serve as an update on recent positive Covid-19 Cases reported at Valley Central over the last 5 days:

  • Two high school staff members were reported as testing positive
  • A middle school staff member was reported as testing positive

The buildings are always cleaned and disinfected in accordance with the guidance of the New York State Department of Health. We remain in constant contact with the Orange County Department of Health (OCDOH) to assist them with the identification and contact of the staff members that were probable direct, close or proximate contacts with the infected individual in the school building. The OCDOH makes the final determination as to who is considered a close or proximate contact.  

We will continue to keep our school community informed regarding how this virus is affecting our schools.  We will continue to communicate changes and updates with you. 

December 13, 2020

This letter is to serve as an update on recent positive Covid-19 Cases reported at Valley Central over the last ten days:

  • A High School staff member tested positive
  • A Valley Central district employee tested positive
  •  While students are not in the building we will not be reporting cases of positive students.

The buildings are always cleaned and disinfected in accordance with the guidance of the New York State Department of Health. We remain in constant contact with the Orange County Department of Health (OCDOH) to assist them with the identification and contact of the staff members that were probable direct, close or proximate contacts with the infected individual in the school building. The OCDOH makes the final determination as to who is considered a close or proximate contact.  

We will continue to keep our school community informed regarding how this virus is affecting our schools.  We will continue to communicate changes and updates with you. 

December 2, 2020

This letter is to serve as an update on recent positive Covid-19 Cases reported at Valley Central. 

  • Over the holiday weekend the district was informed of 4 staff members at Berea Elementary School that tested positive.

  • Yesterday, December 1, 2020 the district was informed of a Valley Central High School staff member that tested positive.

  • Today, December 2, 2020 the district was informed of an ALC staff member that tested positive. 

The buildings have been properly cleaned and disinfected in accordance with the guidance of the New York State Department of Health. We have been in constant contact with the Orange County Department of Health (OCDOH) to assist them with the identification and contact of the staff members that were probable direct, close or proximate contacts with the infected individual in the school building. The OCDOH makes the final determination as to who is considered a close or proximate contact.  

We will continue to keep our school community informed regarding how this virus is affecting our schools.  We will continue to communicate changes and updates with you. 

November 24, 2020

Today, Tuesday, November 24, 2020, the District was informed that a Berea Elementary School staff member tested positive for COVID-19.  We are in contact with the Orange County Department of Health (OCDOH) to assist them with the identification and contact of the staff members and parents/guardians of all students that were probable direct, close or proximate contacts with the infected individual in the classroom/school building.  The OCDOH will make the final determination as to who is considered a close or proximate contact. 

The building will be properly cleaned and disinfected, in accordance with the guidance of the New York State Department of Health, over the holiday weekend.  As was previously announced, the entire District will participate in online learning beginning November 30, 2020 until January 19, 2020.

We will continue to keep our school community informed regarding how this virus is affecting our schools. I wish you all a safe and healthy Thanksgiving. 

November 20, 2020

Today,  November 20, 2020, the District was informed of the following COVID positives in the District:

  • A student at the Valley Central High School – did not result in the need for contact tracing or cleaning of the building
  • A student at the Valley Central Middle School – did not result in the need for contact tracing or cleaning of the building
  • A student at East Coldenham Elementary School – did not result in the need for contact tracing or cleaning of the building
  • A student at Montgomery Elementary School – contact tracing and cleaning of the building will take place and as always, we are in  contact  with the Orange County Department of Health (OCDOH) to assist them with the identification and contact of the staff members and parents/guardians of all students that were probable direct, close or proximate contacts with the infected individual in the classroom/school building or on the school bus.  The OCDOH will make the final determination as to who is considered a close or proximate contact. 

This does not affect the current operation of the buildings for Monday November 23rd. At this time, instruction for the District for Monday and Tuesday is as follows:

  • The High School and the Middle School are on Remote/Online Instruction for Monday, the 23rd and Tuesday, the 24th except for Team In Person who will report to School. 
  • The Elementary Schools are following the Hybrid Schedule for Monday, the 23rd and Tuesday, the 24th.  Team  In Person will report to school both days.
  • Monday and Tuesday are Half Days for the entire District.

The District will be sending out a notice at the end of the day to explain our plan for after the Thanksgiving Break.

November 20, 2020

Below is a memo sent to all public and private schools in Orange County from Dr. Irina Gelman, the county’s commissioner of Health, dated Nov. 19, 2020.

Valley Central School District will make an announcement about the status of in-person hybrid learning on Friday, Nov. 20.

SCHOOLS MOVING TO REMOTE LEARNING GIVEN RISING COVID NUMBERS

 

In consideration of the following alarming communicable disease trends, in the interest of informed, coordinated, proactive and properly organized countywide school response, at this time I strongly recommend a Holiday Pause.

This will confirm our discussion with School Superintendents across Orange County on 11/17/2020 and 11/18/2020. By way of background, we are seeing a substantial increase in cases comparable and possibly exceeding the volume experienced during the first wave of this global pandemic.

As of today, there have been 15,594 confirmed cases as well as 514 deaths to date in Orange County. Of those cases, 46% have been in individuals 18-44 years of age, with the second largest number of confirmed cases in the 45-64 age group (32%). Orange County is currently experiencing a surge in new positive cases. In fact, we continue to see new COVID-19 positive resident cases in Orange County daily, with well over 1,000 newly confirmed cases in the last week alone. Our 10-day rolling average has increased to 115 new cases.

At this point it is not a matter of if schools will suspend in-person instruction, but rather when they will suspend in-person instruction. Please be advised that four new areas in Orange County have been designated as “Yellow Zones” under the NYS Cluster Initiative, as mentioned on our call yesterday: Newburgh, New Windsor, Middletown, and Highland Falls. Schools either have to constantly test in accordance with the latest NYSDOH guidance or convert to remote instruction, as we have previously discussed.

As a result of the exponential increase in cases of COVID-19 throughout the county due to broad community acquired transmission, we have already worked collaboratively with nursing homes, congregate care facilities and hospitals on protective measures including but not limited to suspending visitation, requiring quarantine upon return from leaving the facility and amplifying testing in order to protect our susceptible, vulnerable and medically fragile population in an effort to decrease the local rate of complications, hospitalizations and mortality.

Based on the local statistical data, and current rate of transmission, in order to mitigate further spread of this novel respiratory illness, and allow for proper advanced planning, I urge all school districts, over the upcoming Holiday season (November to January), to consider reverting to a remote only model similar to the collegiate approach, or the phase in to remote with interim inperson instruction (to include all athletic, extra-curricular, and other in-person congregate activities), as per the examples outlined below:

A. The college model – closing for in-person classes through Martin Luther King Jr. Day and resuming for remote learning instruction only.

B. An interim remote/in-person/remote model to get through the current “second wave” (now ongoing) and address the anticipated gatherings of the holiday season. Allow for two to three weeks of remote instruction after major gatherings during the holiday breaks, prior to resuming in-person activities to address the anticipated spread of the disease that is more likely after all of
the Holiday social gatherings.

North Rockland CSD, for example has recently announced such a model. 

Likewise, Burke Catholic in Goshen, which is a high school with several hundred students, has employed that model.

I implore you to consider utilizing a uniform approach for all schools within your respective school districts, as households are comprised of students of varying ages attending different schools within the same district, some including school staff and faculty, hence exposures, isolation and quarantine may impact students, staff and faculty which may severely limit continuity of operations in all schools and varying grade levels.

The current surge in cases in the aftermath of the Halloween parties and social gatherings, is a preliminary indicator of the tidal wave of cases expected after the Thanksgiving and Winter Holiday breaks. It is reasonable to deduce that families, faculty and school administrators would rather take a proactive, well-coordinated approach now to implement a phased in conversion to remote learning throughout the duration of the holiday season that fits the scope, resources, capabilities of your school district rather than continue the sporadic, unanticipated last minute closure and reopening of schools that does not allow school administrators, instructors, staff and families to plan ahead for such developments.

I beseech the school districts to follow the scientific data, best practice recommendations and revert to remote only instruction to decrease the rate of propagation, and allow for advanced planning for the benefit and health of the families, staff, faculty and school administrators.

I am therefore recommending the schools adopt one of the above two approaches that reduces the likelihood of holiday associated (forced) pause, and that is proactive, which assures a continuity of learning.

The OCDOH takes the health and safety of our children very seriously, even more so during the worst public health crisis in a century. While infection rates are increasing daily, we need to proceed with caution and take every step possible in resuming in-person services safely and responsibly.

November 19, 2020

Early on Thursday, November 19, 2020, the District was informed that a Valley Central High School staff member and a Valley Central High School student tested positive for COVID-19.  We are in contact with the Orange County Department of Health (OCDOH) to assist them with the identification and contact of the staff members and parents/guardians of all students that were probable direct, close or proximate contacts with the infected individual in the classroom/school building or on the school bus.  The OCDOH will make the final determination as to who is considered a close or proximate contact. 

The building has already been properly cleaned and disinfected in accordance with the guidance of the New York State Department of Health and there will be additional cleaning this evening. The situation has been evaluated with all pertinent parties and it has been decided that Team In Person may report to the building on Friday, November 20th. All other students are currently on remote instruction.   Students are expected to attend all Google Meets and to complete all work.. 

Thank you for your continued support of the Valley Central School District. 

November 18, 2020

Remote instruction through November 24th for all VCMS/VCHS students except Team In person (5 Days). Team In-person (5 Days) will report to the buildings. CTEC will run on a Wednesday Schedule.

Today, Wednesday, November 18, 2020, the District was informed that a Valley Central High School student tested positive for COVID-19.  We are in contact with the Orange County Department of Health (OCDOH) to assist them with the identification and contact of the staff members and parents/guardians of all students that were probable direct, close or proximate contacts with the infected individual in the classroom/school building or on the school bus.  The OCDOH will make the final determination as to who is considered a close or proximate contact. 

Due to the current situation, which includes a large number of High School and Middle School staff members in quarantine, all Middle School and High School students, except Team In-Person (5 Days), will engage in remote learning from Thursday, November 19, 2020 through Tuesday, November 24th.  Students are expected to attend all Google Meets and to complete all work.

Elementary students will report as normally scheduled during this time period. 

We are aware there is much speculation about what will occur after the Thanksgiving break.  Conversations are taking place with all of the Orange County School Districts, as well as the Orange County Department of Health. When a final decision is made, the District will make an announcement.

We will continue to keep our school community informed regarding how this virus is affecting our schools. Our priority is to inform the Orange County Department of Health and those families and staff that may have been exposed first. Please do not rely on social media commentary for information.  You should contact the District or your school if you have questions, but please understand that, due to medical privacy laws, we are not able to release the names of the individual(s) with COVID-19. We will continue to communicate changes and updates with you.  With your participation, we believe we can create a safe and engaging experience for your children. 

November 17, 2020

Today,  November 17, 2020, the District was informed that a Vally Central Middle School student tested positive for COVID-19. In the morning we will contact the Orange County Department of Health (OCDOH) to assist them with the identification and contact of the staff members and parents/guardians of all students that were probable direct, close or proximate contacts with the infected individual in the classroom/school building or on the school bus.  The OCDOH will make the final determination as to who is considered a close or proximate contact. 

All Middle School students will engage in remote learning on Wednesday, November 18, 2020, including our 5 days a week in-person students, in order to ensure the building has been properly cleaned and disinfected in accordance with the guidance of the New York State Department of Health. Instruction will continue tomorrow with synchronous instruction taking place. Students are expected to attend all Google Meets and to complete all work. We will send out more information by the end of the school day tomorrow to let you know what the rest of the week will look like for the Middle School.

We will continue to keep our school community informed regarding how this virus is affecting our schools. Our priority is to inform the Orange County Department of Health and those families and staff that may have been exposed first. Please do not rely on social media commentary for information.  You should contact the District or your school if you have questions, but please understand that, due to medical privacy laws, we are not able to release the names of the individual(s) with COVID-19. We will continue to communicate changes and updates with you.  With your participation, we believe we can create a safe and engaging experience for your children. 

November 17, 2020

Due to the ongoing health crisis in Orange County and throughout the state, Valley Central will not be approving any indoor or outdoor facilities requests from outside groups or community organizations during December 2020 and January 2021. The school district will reassess facilities requests from outside groups in February 2021.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation as we continue to make decisions aligned with our districtwide goal of keeping VC students, staff and community members safe and healthy.

November 15, 2020-(2)

Tonight,  November 15, 2020, at 8:45 p.m. the District was informed that an East Coldenham staff member tested positive for COVID-19. In the morning we will contact  the Orange County Department of Health (OCDOH) to assist them with the identification and contact of the staff members and parents/guardians of all students that were probable direct, close or proximate contacts with the infected individual in the classroom/school building or on the school bus.  The OCDOH will make the final determination as to who is considered a close or proximate contact.  

All East Coldenham students will engage in remote learning on Monday, November 16, 2020 to ensure that the building has been properly cleaned and disinfected in accordance with the guidance of the New York State Department of Health. Instruction will continue tomorrow with synchronous instruction taking place. Students are expected to attend all Google Meets and to complete all work. We will send out more information by the end of the school day tomorrow to let you know what next week will look like for East Coldenham Elementary School.

We will continue to keep our school community informed regarding how this virus is affecting our schools. Our priority is to inform the Orange County Department of Health and those families and staff that may have been exposed first. Please do not rely on social media commentary for information.  You should contact the District or your school if you have questions, but please understand that, due to medical privacy laws, we are not able to release the names of the individual(s) with COVID-19. We will continue to communicate changes and updates with you.  With your participation, we believe we can create a safe and engaging experience for your children. 

November 15, 2020

This evening, November 15, 2020, the District was informed that a Montgomery Elementary School student tested positive for COVID-19. In the morning we will contact  the Orange County Department of Health (OCDOH) to assist them with the identification and contact of the staff members and parents/guardians of all students that were probable direct, close or proximate contacts with the infected individual in the classroom/school building or on the school bus.  The OCDOH will make the final determination as to who is considered a close or proximate contact. 

All Montgomery Elementary students will engage in remote learning on Monday, November 16, 2020 to ensure that the building has been properly cleaned and disinfected in accordance with the guidance of the New York State Department of Health. Instruction will continue tomorrow with synchronous instruction taking place. Students are expected to attend all Google Meets and to complete all work.We will send out more information by the end of the school day tomorrow to let you know what next week will look like for Montgomery Elementary School.

We will continue to keep our school community informed regarding how this virus is affecting our schools. Our priority is to inform the Orange County Department of Health and those families and staff that may have been exposed first. Please do not rely on social media commentary for information.  You should contact the District or your school if you have questions, but please understand that, due to medical privacy laws, we are not able to release the names of the individual(s) with COVID-19. We will continue to communicate changes and updates with you.  With your participation, we believe we can create a safe and engaging experience for your children. 

November 12, 2020 -Travel Requirement

This is official guidance from NYSDOH regarding new testing and quarantine criteria as it pertains to travel as of  November 4th, 2020. This guidance does NOT apply to any travel for any length of time to contiguous states. Contiguous states include: Pennsylvania, Vermont, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts.

 

Travelers have two choices for travel to any non-contagious state for greater than 24 hours. For travel to ANY other State or CDC Designated Level 2 or Level 3 County travelers must complete either of the following:

 

  1. Complete a 14 day quarantine from the day they leave a non-contagious state or Level 2 or 3 country ; OR
  2. Obtain any FDA-approved COVID-19 test (rapid or PCR test) 72 hours prior to ARRIVAL BACK TO NEW YORK. (This could mean that they receive a test PRIOR to departure if only going for 48 hours) ; AND
  3. Quarantine for 3 days upon return to New York and receive a 2nd FDA-approved COVID-19 test on day 4 or later. Everyone MUST quarantine while awaiting results of the 2nd test.

 

NYSDOH clarified on Wednesday afternoon that you must get 2 tests. If two tests cannot be obtained in the intervals designated above, a traveler MUST complete their 14 day quarantine.

 

Any travel less than 24 hours to a non-contiguous state does not require a 3 day quarantine but they MUST fill out a form at the link above AND obtain a diagnostic FDA-approved test on the 4th day or later after arrival to New York. However, ALL TRAVERLERS MUST quarantine while awaiting test results.

 

Additionally, Orange County still requires that any school employee or student MUST obtain a letter of clearance from their health care provider before returning to school/work. That requirement has NOT been removed.

November 6, 2020

This is an update on the COVID 19 issues surrounding the Valley Central School District.

As you already know, on the evening of November 5, 2020, the District was made aware that a Valley Central Middle School teacher tested positive for COVID 19. The Middle School building was closed today and all students were instructed via online instruction while the building was deep cleaned. We worked collaboratively with the Orange County DOH to be sure that all those affected were contacted. 

The Valley Central Middle School building will reopen on Monday, November 9, 2020, for everyone except the 7th Grade Gold Team. The 7th Grade Gold Team 1 (M/Th) will return on November 23, 2020.  The 7th Grade Gold Team 2 (T/F) will return on November 20, 2020. The 7th Grade Gold Team will receive online instruction as per the normal schedule during this time. Please be sure your child attends all of his/her Google Meets and completes all assignments. 

The Valley Central High School building has been closed to all students except for Team In person. All students except for Team In-person have been receiving online instruction. Team 1 (M/Th) may return to the High School building on November 12, 2020.  Team 2 (T/F) will return to the High School Building on November 10, 2020. 

Today we were made aware that two Valley Central High School students tested positive for COVID 19, however, this had absolutely no effect on the District. 

We are aware that there is a discrepancy between the amount of in-person instruction that Team 1 has received and that Team 2 has received.  With the various building closures, this is difficult to control. We plan on addressing this disparity during the second semester. 

We will continue to keep our school community informed regarding how this virus is affecting our schools. Our priority is to inform the Orange County Department of Health and those families and staff that may have been exposed first. Please do not rely on social media commentary for information.  You should contact the District or your school if you have questions, but please understand that, due to medical privacy laws, we are not able to release the names of the individual(s) with COVID-19. We will continue to communicate changes and updates with you.  With your participation, we believe we can create a safe and engaging experience for your children. 

November 5, 2020

This evening, November 5, 2020, the District was informed that a Valley Central Middle School teacher tested positive for COVID-19. In the morning we will contact the Orange County Department of Health (OCDOH) to assist them with the identification and contact of the staff members and parents/guardians of all students that were probable direct, close or proximate contacts with the infected individual in the classroom/school building or on the school bus.  The OCDOH will make the final determination as to who is considered a close or proximate contact. 

All Valley Central Middle School students will engage in remote learning on Friday, November 6, 2020 to ensure that the building has been properly cleaned and disinfected in accordance with the guidance of the New York State Department of Health. Instruction will continue tomorrow on the same nine- period schedule with synchronous instruction taking place. Students are expected to attend all Google Meets and to complete all work.  We will send out more information by the end of the school day tomorrow to let you know what next week will look like for the Middle School students. 

All teachers will teach from home following the guidelines sent out on Sunday evening. Administrators, custodians and food service workers will report to the buildings. Paras may be reassigned to another building if needed. 

We will continue to keep our school community informed regarding how this virus is affecting our schools. Our priority is to inform the Orange County Department of Health and those families and staff that may have been exposed first. Please do not rely on social media commentary for information.  You should contact the District or your school if you have questions, but please understand that, due to medical privacy laws, we are not able to release the names of the individual(s) with COVID-19. We will continue to communicate changes and updates with you.  With your participation, we believe we can create a safe and engaging experience for your children. 

November 3, 2020 : Snow Days

There is an air of wonder that circulates around the season’s first forecast for a possible snow day.  Everyone in Valley Central, including our superintendent John Xanthis, eagerly anticipates VC graduate Ben Noll’s predictions. As the November air takes on a brisk chill, everyone is eager to know if snow days will now fall victim to COVID 19 and remote learning.

 

The Valley Central School District has made the decision to use our snow days as per our normal plan. (The calendar page on the district website indicates how snow days are banked.) 2020 had brought so many losses and changes resulting in additional stress for  teachers, students, and families; but for now, let’s just take a moment to enjoy the wonder and anticipation of a snow day!

November 1, 2020

We were informed this afternoon that a Montgomery Elementary School teacher tested positive for COVID-19. We will contact the Orange County Department of Health (OCDOH) first thing in the morning. They will then identify and contact the parents/guardians of all students, and staff that they determine are probable “close contacts” in the classroom/school building. However, as per DOH guidelines, the District has already started making phone calls to those who we believe must quarantine. The Orange County Department of Health will make the final determination as to who is a close contact and will confirm and contact those that need to quarantine.  As always, we will work cooperatively with the OCDOH to provide them with contact information for those who may have been exposed.  

All Montgomery Elementary School students will engage in remote learning on Monday, November 2, 2020 to ensure that the building has been properly cleaned and disinfected in accordance with the guidance of the New York State Department of Health.   Please be sure to check your child’s Google classrooms.

Montgomery Elementary School will reopen on Tuesday, November 3rd for all students that have not been directed to quarantine.

Parents/guardians must also do their part by checking their child’s temperature each morning and checking for any symptoms of COVID-19. Anyone with a fever of 100 degrees or more, or any symptom of COVID-19 must remain home, and parents/guardians should contact their health care provider and school nurse for further procedures/protocols.

I thank you for your patience and continued support as we navigate these difficult times. We will continue to keep our school community informed regarding how this virus is affecting our schools. Our priority is to inform the Orange County Department of Health and those families and staff that may have been exposed first. Please do not rely on social media commentary for information and contact the district or your school if you have questions.

October 30, 2020

As you already know, on October 29th, the District was informed that two Valley Central High School students tested positive for COVID-19. We worked closely with the Orange County Department of Health (OCDOH) to ensure we identified and contacted all necessary staff members and the parents/guardians of all students that were probable direct, close or proximate contacts with the infected individual in the classroom/school building or on the school bus.  

On Monday, November 2, 2020 the Valley Central High School will open for in-person instruction for our Team In-Person (5 day a week students) only.  The remainder of the Valley Central High School students will continue to be provided with on-line instruction/learning until November 10, 2020. On that date, Team 2 will return for in-person learning, unless they are still in quarantine. The length of the closing is due to our inability to staff our classrooms, study halls and cafeterias due to the number of teachers and paraprofessionals in quarantine.

Instruction will continue on the same nine period schedule with synchronous instruction taking place. Students are expected to attend all Google Meets and to complete all work.  Administrators, teachers and staff that are not in quarantine will be working from the High School, while our quarantined teachers will provide instruction on the nine period schedule from their homes.

We will continue to keep our school community informed regarding how this virus is affecting our schools. Our priority is to inform the Orange County Department of Health and those families and staff that may have been exposed first. Please do not rely on social media commentary for information.  You should contact the District or your school if you have questions, but please understand that, due to medical privacy laws, we are not able to release the names of the individual(s) with COVID-19. We will continue to communicate changes and updates with you.  With your participation, we believe we can create a safe and engaging experience for your children. 

 

October 29, 2020

Today, October 29th, the District was informed that two Valley Central High School students tested positive for COVID-19. We have contacted the Orange County Department of Health (OCDOH) to assist them with the identification and contact of the staff members and parents/guardians of all students that were probable direct, close or proximate contacts with the infected individual in the classroom/school building or on the school bus.  The OCDOH will make the final determination as to who is considered a close or proximate contact and will inform those that need to do so, to quarantine for 14 days from the last date of contact with the infected individual.  We are working cooperatively with the OCDOH to provide them with contact information for those who may have been exposed.

All Valley Central High School students will engage in remote learning on Friday, October 30, 2020, to ensure that the building has been properly cleaned and disinfected in accordance with the guidance of the New York State Department of Health. We will let you know when the High School will reopen for in-person instruction by the end of the day Friday.  

We strongly recommend that you take action to help limit the spread of COVID-19, even if your child is not experiencing symptoms. Please answer the phone if the Health Department contacts you.  A contact tracer may be trying to reach you with important information.  Parents/guardians must also do their part by checking their child’s temperature each morning and checking for any symptoms of COVID-19.  According to the OCDOH, the specific symptoms of COVID-19 include: 

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Anyone with a fever of 100 degrees or more, or any symptom of COVID-19, must remain home and parents/guardians should contact their health care provider and school nurse for further procedures/protocols.

We are confident that the protocols that we have put in place in our schools including social distancing, the requirement for wearing a mask throughout the day, and cleaning and sanitizing practices will help minimize the spread of this virus to others.

We will continue to keep our school community informed regarding how this virus is affecting our schools. Our priority is to inform the Orange County Department of Health and those families and staff that may have been exposed first. Please do not rely on social media commentary for information.  You should contact the District or your school if you have questions, but please understand that, due to medical privacy laws, we are not able to release the names of the individual(s) with COVID-19. We will continue to communicate changes and updates with you.  With your participation, we believe we can create a safe and fun experience for your children. 

October 27, 2020

This is a friendly reminder for all parents and guardians about what is required when your child returns to school after being out for illness as per the Orange County Health Department mandates.

A health care provider’s note is required on the day they return to school and should be presented to the nurse upon entrance to the school.  The note must state that the student is cleared to return to school and it must also state one of the following; the illness was not COVID-19 related, the alternate diagnosis, or that they met the isolation or quarantine requirements.

A student that returns to school without a note will be sent home until such a note is received.

October 19, 2020

On October 18, the District was informed that a Valley Central High School teacher tested positive for COVID-19. We have contacted the Orange County Department of Health (OCDOH) to assist them with the identification and contact of the staff members and parents/guardians of all students that were probable direct, close or proximate contacts with the infected individual in the classroom/school building or on the school bus.  The OCDOH will make the final determination as to who is considered a close or proximate contact and will inform those that need to do so, to quarantine for 14 days from the last date of contact with the infected individual.  We are working cooperatively with the OCDOH to provide them with contact information for those who may have been exposed.

High School students and most staff members are not in attendance today and the building has been properly cleaned and disinfected in accordance with the guidance of the New York State Department of Health. The High School will reopen on Tuesday for in-person instruction for Team 2 and all students who receive five day a week in-person instruction.

We strongly recommend that you take action to help limit the spread of COVID-19, even if your child is not experiencing symptoms. Please answer the phone if the Health Department contacts you.  A contact tracer may be trying to reach you with important information.  Parents/guardians must also do their part by checking their child’s temperature each morning and checking for any symptoms of COVID-19.  According to the OCDOH, the specific symptoms of COVID-19 include: 

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Anyone with a fever of 100 degrees or more, or any symptom of COVID-19, must remain home and parents/guardians should contact their health care provider and school nurse for further procedures/protocols.

We are confident that the protocols that we have put in place in our schools including social distancing, the requirement for wearing a mask throughout the day, and cleaning and sanitizing practices will help minimize the spread of this virus to others.

We will continue to keep our school community informed regarding how this virus is affecting our schools. Our priority is to inform the Orange County Department of Health and those families and staff that may have been exposed first. Please do not rely on social media commentary for information.  You should contact the District or your school if you have questions, but please understand that, due to medical privacy laws, we are not able to release the names of the individual(s) with COVID-19. We will continue to communicate changes and updates with you.  With your participation, we believe we can create a safe and fun experience for your children. 

October 15, 2020

On October 15, the District was informed that three students, one at Walden Elementary School, one at the Middle School and one at the High School tested positive for COVID-19. We have contacted the Orange County Department of Health (OCDOH) to assist them with the identification and contact of the staff members and parents/guardians of all students that were probable direct, close or proximate contacts with the infected individual in the classroom/school building or on the school bus.  The OCDOH will make the final determination as to who is considered a close or proximate contact and will inform those that need to do so, to quarantine for 14 days from the last date of contact with the infected individual.  We are working cooperatively with the OCDOH to provide them with contact information for those who may have been exposed.

In order to ensure that all three of these buildings have been properly cleaned and disinfected in accordance with the guidance of the New York State Department of Health, the High School, the Middle School and Walden Elementary will all have 100% remote instruction for all students on Friday, October 16.  Due to staffing challenges created by the quarantine period, the High School and the Middle School will remain on remote instruction for all students on Monday, October 19.  Walden Elementary School will reopen on Monday for in-person instruction for Team 1 and all students who receive five day a week in-person instruction.  The High School and the Middle School will reopen on Tuesday for in-person instruction for Team 2 and all students who receive five day a week in-person instruction.

We strongly recommend that you take action to help limit the spread of COVID-19, even if your child is not experiencing symptoms. Please answer the phone if the Health Department contacts you.  A contact tracer may be trying to reach you with important information.  Parents/guardians must also do their part by checking their child’s temperature each morning and checking for any symptoms of COVID-19.  According to the OCDOH, the specific symptoms of COVID-19 include: 

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Anyone with a fever of 100 degrees or more, or any symptom of COVID-19, must remain home and parents/guardians should contact their health care provider and school nurse for further procedures/protocols.

We are confident that the protocols that we have put in place in our schools including social distancing, the requirement for wearing a mask throughout the day, and cleaning and sanitizing practices will help minimize the spread of this virus to others.

We will continue to keep our school community informed regarding how this virus is affecting our schools. Our priority is to inform the Orange County Department of Health and those families and staff that may have been exposed first. Please do not rely on social media commentary for information.  You should contact the District or your school if you have questions, but please understand that, due to medical privacy laws, we are not able to release the names of the individual(s) with COVID-19. We will continue to communicate changes and updates with you.  With your participation, we believe we can create a safe and fun experience for your children. 

VC Reopening Plan: Health and Safety

October 2, 2020

The document from the NYS DOH has easy to read flow sheets that tell a parent when they should keep a student home or what will happen in school if a child becomes ill.

Please note that if a parent does not take their child to a healthcare provider when ill with symptoms, they must keep their child home for 10 days minimum.  

September 25, 2020

We were informed late this afternoon that an Alternative Learning Center student tested positive for COVID-19. We have contacted the Orange County Department of Health (OCDOH) and they have advised us that they will identify and contact the parents/guardians of all students and staff that they determine are probable “close contacts” in the classroom/school building or on the school bus. The Orange County Department of Health will make the final determination as to who is a close contact and will inform those that need to quarantine. We are working cooperatively with the OCDOH to provide them with contact information for those who may have been exposed.

We are confident that the protocols that we have put in place in our schools including social distancing, the requirement for wearing a mask throughout the day, and cleaning and sanitizing practices will help minimize the spread of this virus to others.

Parents/guardians must also do their part by checking their child’s temperature each morning and checking for any symptoms of COVID-19. Anyone with a fever of 100 degrees or more, or any symptom of COVID-19 must remain home, and parents/guardians should contact their health care provider and school nurse for further procedures/protocols.
We thank the student’s parents/guardians for following these protocols and contacting us immediately so that we could begin our work of informing affected families. I know you join us in wishing the student a speedy and complete recovery.

We will continue to keep our school community informed regarding how this virus is impacting our schools. Our priority is to inform the Orange County Department of Health and those families and staff that may have been exposed first. Please do not rely on social media commentary for information and contact the district or your school if you have questions.

September 15, 2020

The District would like to make the community aware of an error in its COVID-19 Report Card. A teacher tested positive for COVID-19 prior to the beginning of school. That teacher did not return to work until fully cleared by a physician and the Department of Health. The teacher was cleared to work prior to students beginning remote instruction on September 4, 2020.  The teacher was reported on the COVID-19 dashboard in error, but the Department of Health has told us we are unable to correct the report. We would like to assure the community that the District continues to adhere to all health and safety requirements set forth by the Department of Health as well as those set forth in the District’s Reopening Plan.  

September 10, 2020

Gov. Cuomo is requiring all public schools in the state to submit daily information of staff and students regarding COVID-19 positive percentages.  He made this announcement on September 8, 2020. The information is submitted to a NYS School COVID Report Card website, which the state then updates to make the information available  to the public. VCSD has been submitting the information as required. 

July 20, 2020

In recent weeks the District has received requests for the use of District facilities and school grounds.  The District, under Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order 202.4 and its subsequent amendments is closed to the public, except for essential functions.   

District policy outlines the permissible uses of school grounds and facilities, including the required application procedure for the use of District facilities at least 30 days prior to the date of requested use.  Please be advised that due to the closure of schools, the District is not accepting applications for the public use of school facilities at this time.  The District reserves the right to restrict such use when schools reopen, in order to accommodate the District’s primary function of educating District students and to maintain the health and safety of the community. 

 


We are Here to Help

Please reach out to teachers, support staff, counselors, building principals, directors and central office administrators with any questions or concerns you may have. This is new to all of us and we will experience some glitches along the way. We are here for you.