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Coronavirus Update

November Update

Dear Students, Parents and the Roxbury Community:

This past week has been a frustrating and trying week.  We have had 7 students and 2 staff members who tested positive for COVID. As a result, we have 43 students and 4 staff members in quarantine.  The process for Karen Hinkley and I began on Sunday when we became aware of a positive individual and has continued throughout the week.

I want to walk you through the process, so you have an understanding of what determines whether or not your child will need to be quarantined if it is suspected that he or she may have been in close contact with a positive individual.

Person Identified as Close Contact:

When we are notified of a positive individual, we gather our materials to begin the contact tracing process.  We then determine the time frame of the exposure.  We interview the student and parent or staff member who tested positive to determine when the symptoms began and then go back 48 hours, per CDC guidelines.  We have all the students’ schedules, the class lists for each class, and seating charts for classrooms as well as the school buses already preprinted, and then get the attendance for the students for the dates in question.

The criteria for ‘close contact’, as defined by the CDC, is being less than 6 feet apart for 15 minutes or more in a 24-hour period when individuals are unmasked, or being less than 3 feet apart for 15 minutes or more within a 24-hour period when the individuals are masked.  

Using this criteria, we create a list of all the close contacts for the positive individual for each class, period, bus ride, etc.  As a result, a student or staff member might have up to 50 contacts throughout the course of that 48-hour time frame before the onset of symptoms. We are in communication with the Delaware County Department of Health constantly throughout this process, and they also 

  • It is important to note that vaccinated individuals do not need to be quarantined, after possible exposure, unless they have symptoms.  Vaccinated individuals are immediately taken off the list, and can continue to participate in instruction and extracurricular activities.
 Once the list of possible close contacts is created we start eliminating names based on vaccination status, whether or not they have tested positive in the last 90 days, their classroom seating charts, etc. Our goal is to ensure we not only stop the spread but also only quarantine the individuals who fit the criteria of being in close contact.  We could easily just quarantine all 50 individuals that the positive student/staff member came in contact with in the example above; however, we do this process to keep as many individuals out of quarantine as possible while ensuring everyone’s safety.
 Since being notified this past Sunday we completed this process on the 7 students and 2 staff members who are positive in our building, which was a time-consuming process that took days to complete. 

We do not take the process lightly. In prior instances we have called parents individually to inform them of their student’s quarantine; however, as we had a significant number of students/staff members that needed to be placed in quarantine this week, we chose to use the automated phone system to contact the specific families in an effort to get the information out quickly.  We know this was not a perfect solution, but we will continue to use the phone system for a larger number of quarantines when necessary.  We will ensure that, should we use the system again, the call will contain more information and details.

Once a student/staff member is placed in quarantine, they should be monitored.  No one can test out of quarantine.  New York State Contact tracing will call your home to gather more information.  This call must be answered as they will be determining the length of the quarantine not only from the information we provide but also from what information they gather from you.  

Beginning the second day of a student’s quarantine, we will begin delivering school work home daily, as provided by the teachers. You can also receive daily meals, but they will not be sent automatically. You will need to request them. Students in elementary grades will receive packets from their teachers and students in grades 7-12 will be provided work and links to the classroom by their teachers.  Unless they are ill students are required to attend the classroom sessions if they are sent links.  Your student’s teachers will be in contact with you or your student with details.

As the ending date of quarantine nears, you should receive an email from the New York State Health Department detailing the quarantine end date.  We would need this document before your students can return to school.

Once your student returns to school, tutoring will be offered to continue to support and ensure work is completed.

Person with Symptoms Who Has Not Been a Close Contact:

If your student has not been around a positive COVID individual, but is displaying symptoms that are consistent with COVID, your student will be sent home, whether vaccinated or not.  If the symptoms persist than we would require that you contact your primary health care provider, and, if they determine it is not COVID, we would require a doctor’s note to explain the diagnosis, and/or a negative PCR/NAAT COVID test.  Students can then return after being 24-hour symptom free without taking fever reducers or cold medicine.

We understand your frustration when we call.  We know that many people are struggling during these difficult times.  We know your frustration with the fact that we can not tell you who the close contact was, where it was or how your student became a close contact, due to HIPPA.  However, I will not allow the continuation of the unpleasant, angry phone calls and the use of vulgar language directed at our staff members.  The staff members who are making the calls and fielding your phone calls have been instructed to hang up if they are being verbally attacked by angry individuals.  It is nobody’s fault that someone is quarantined.  It is nobody’s fault that students are having symptoms. We are following mandated guidelines and trying to keep your students safe. If you have questions or need more information, please contact me at extension 2015. 

Please stay safe and healthy.

 

Jeffrey Bennett, Superintendent

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map     53729 State Highway 30 | Roxbury, NY 12474
P: 607.326.4151
F: 607.326.4154
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