UPDATED at 4 p.m. on March 15, 2020
After consulting with local Departments of Health, superintendents in the Questar III BOCES region of Rensselaer, Columbia, and Greene counties decided to cancel all classes effective Wednesday, March 18 until Friday, March 27 out of an abundance of caution. Because this is not a mandated closure, some districts have altered these dates to suit their specific needs so there will be differences in district schedules and procedures within our county. This situation can change by the hour or day so communications will continue to be updated as deemed necessary.
Columbia County does not have any confirmed cases at this time. Like many districts in the Questar region, we are cancelling classes beginning on Wednesday, March 18 in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and to ease public anxiety about schools being in session during this public health crisis. We are doing all we can to prepare our students and staff for a prolonged closing and shift in the educational environment.
Hudson students and staff should plan on attending school on Monday and Tuesday, March 16 & 17, to gather belongings, materials and other items that may be needed for a prolonged closing. If you have not done so already, please complete this survey about technology in your home.
The decision to cancel classes was made after an emergency meeting of superintendents in Rensselaer, Columbia and Greene counties on Saturday, March 14 with the local health departments and Questar III BOCES. A second meeting is planned for Sunday, March 15, to assess any potential changes in the situation.
We understand this is an inconvenience for our families, but our primary concern is the health and safety of our students and staff. Ultimately, we wanted to be thoughtful about planning and not make a sudden decision that does not allow our families and staff to prepare for what could be a more extended closing.
This week’s schedule provides our teaching staff with time to prepare instructional materials and resources for students in the event of a longer-term closing. It also allows our students to clean out their lockers and bring home their belongings, including digital devices, instruments and other items.
Our school district is committed to providing educational resources for our students during this time, but we also realize that you cannot replicate the school day for your child. We will work to maintain our student, teacher and family relationships as much as possible through physical distancing and digital means. We encourage you to maintain a schedule and routine to provide as much normalcy as possible for your child.
I recognize the impact this closure will have on our community and I know it will greatly burden our students, staff, and working families who rely on our district. We assure you that COVID-19 will not stop our work on behalf of children. We are exploring the best options for maintaining our school breakfast and lunch program during this prolonged closure. Our families’ needs are of utmost importance to us and we will notify you as soon as a plan has been finalized.
Thank you for your continued patience and support as we work together through this unprecedented situation. Looking ahead, we anticipate that there will be many questions. We will continue to follow guidance from our health and education departments and will provide additional information as soon as possible. Please continue to follow the CDC’s recommendations – including thorough handwashing, physical distancing and avoiding large groups and those who are ill – to stay safe and healthy.
We are one family with one goal and we are here to support each other.
Dr. Maria Lagana Suttmeier
Superintendent of Schools
Today, Saturday, March 14 the superintendents from the 23 component districts in the Questar III BOCES region and representatives from all three county Departments of Health met for several hours to develop our plans and response to this rapidly developing public health crisis. As of now, Hudson students should plan on coming to school on Monday, March 16.
Superintendents and Questar officials will meet again on Sunday. We will be issuing a more complete statement tomorrow afternoon, March 15 with details about the rest of the week.