The following letter from the superintendent was emailed to parents on Tuesday, Nov. 24:
Unadilla Valley CSD is aware of several more cases and suspected cases of COVID-19 within our school community. Coordination with the health department to contact trace for the new cases is continuing today. Area health officials are reporting that in many of the new cases in Otsego and Chenango counties, no specific source of transmission can be identified. This means that community spread is occurring with COVID-19. They have also determined that many COVID cases are originating in social settings outside of schools where COVID prevention guidelines are not being followed. Please note that the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and other privacy laws restrict us from disclosing or confirming any personally identifiable information. We cannot identify anyone who has tested positive.
Last week, the district reverted to remote learning midweek after two staff members and two students tested positive. Although school is not in session this week due to the Thanksgiving Holiday and classes were previously set to be remote for next week, the development of new cases is troubling news. The window of time around the holidays was created by the district as a precaution to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and should not be seen as a buffer period where someone does not have to adhere to prevention guidelines from the CDC. The Chenango County Department of Health continues to indicate that our Reopening Plan and COVID-19 prevention protocols help minimize the risk of transmission within our school building but in order for Unadilla Valley CSD, to return to in-person learning on December 7 and beyond, we are relying on our families and the general public to take COVID-19 seriously. At this time with so many staff members and students who have either tested positive or who are subject to quarantine, the district’s return to in-person learning is at risk.
We strongly advise that our UV families follow not only the CDC’s recommendations for Thanksgiving, but to also abide by New York State’s travel advisory and other COVID prevention strategies. The New York State Department of Health requires anyone traveling out of the State with plans to return to NYS to complete a Traveler Health Form. It does not matter how your family travels (airplane, car, bus, train etc.). This form along with details about the travel advisory can be found online at https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/covid-19-travel-advisory. Failure to comply with the travel advisory could result in a mandatory quarantine order and a fine of up to $10,000.
Please be smart and help us protect each other.
This is not the time for us to get complacent. Not only is it important for the district to be able to continue in-person learning, there are also many vulnerable people in our community, especially our elders.
It’s more important now, more than ever, to practice the three “Ws”– wear your mask, wash your hands, watch your distance, whether our school community members are in our building or out in the broader community.
We know that it has been a long year and that we’ve all had enough of this pandemic. But it isn’t over. In fact, this next phase of our fight against COVID-19 is just beginning.
Please do the right thing.
Superintendent of Schools