Letter from the Superintendent Regarding COVID-19

From: John Xanthis, Superintendent of Schools

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