December 4, 2020
Good Afternoon WCSD Community,
We have continued our work related to the pandemic and I would like to provide you with a few updates. First, we are preparing for all possible scenarios. We have an extremely hard working group of teachers, staff members and administrators that have been working on a plan that we can utilize in the event that we go 100% remote. The individual building level draft plans will be sent home with your child or mailed on December 4, 2020. These draft plans outline individual building instructional plans, food service, technology and mental health for both students and staff in the event that we are forced to go 100% remote. Please understand that these are draft plans and may change if guidance and/or circumstances change.
It is very important for you to know that, with the changes to the NYS Micro Cluster Initiative, we feel confident in our ability to remain open for in-person instruction. This 100% remote instruction draft plan would be our last resort, as our overall goal is to remain open for in-person instruction. We have no doubt that the in-person model is the best for all. These draft plans are preemptive and precautionary; we hope that we do not have to use them. Second, we are currently working on a "Micro Cluster Test Procedure" in the event that we are identified in a yellow, orange, or red zone. Effective the week of November 16, 2020, schools in yellow zones must test 20% of in-person students, faculty and staff over the two-week period immediately following the announcement of a yellow zone designation (20% will most likely change in the very near future). If the results of the testing reveal that the positivity rate among the 20% of those tested is lower than the yellow zone's current 7-day positivity rate, testing at that school will no longer be required to continue. A positivity rate in a school that is lower than in the yellow zone is a sufficient demonstration that in-person instruction is not a significant driver of local viral spread. The current positivity rate for zones can be found at, https://forward.ny.gov/percentage-positive-results-county-dashboard
However, if the results of the testing over the first two weeks reveal that the positivity rate among in-person student, staff and faculty is higher than the Yellow Zone's current 7-day positivity rate, the school will be required to continue to test 20% of the in-person population on a bi-weekly basis. As part of this, schools located in Orange and Red micro-cluster zones will be required to conduct monthly testing. Schools in Orange Zones will be required to test 20% of in-person students, faculty, and staff over the course of a month, and schools in Red Zones will be required to test 30% of in person students, faculty, and staff over a month.
If the state mandates that we move to the Yellow, Orange or Red Zone, we must follow these guidelines. This means your consent for testing is vitally important in making sure that our schools stay open. Therefore, we would ask all families who have students in the building to complete a testing consent form for each of your students. This form would be provided either electronically or paper copy. Remember, as of right now, we are NOT in a designated zone. We are preparing in the event that we get identified in one of these micro cluster zones.
We would be using the quick nasal swab testing, not the deep, invasive method of testing. Older students would be able to complete the test themselves. Results are available within 15 minutes and anyone who tests positive will be discreetly informed and parents will be notified. Third, we all need to continue to be vigilant with regard to screening, mask wearing, social distancing, hand washing and sanitizing. Taking these steps not only reduces the risk of getting COVID but also reduces your risk of getting quarantined. The testing data coming from micro cluster zones across the state shows a very low positivity rate in schools. Schools are very safe.
1. The Wyoming County Department of Health is working nonstop, but response is slower than it was in September/October due to the number of tests, new cases and the increased demand of contact tracing (outside of schools).
2. Through our BB Connect email system, we will continue to share with families as soon as we have confirmation that positive cases are confirmed through the DOH and/or medical personnel. Please be patient as the confirmation system may take some time.
3. We can't share names, just the fact that there was a positive case.
4. Schools continue to be very safe, but it is important for all of us to follow the COVID protocols all the time AND I can't stress enough how important it is to follow the NYS COVID protocols outside of school.
I have nothing but the highest regard for the way that our school and school community has handled these unprecedented events. We are committed to the education of our students.
Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.
Superintendent of Schools