January 9, 2021
Dear HCSD Parents/Guardians:
As I have mentioned before, we closely monitor the COVID-19 situation in our area and weigh its potential impact on our schools. It is because we value the safety of our staff and our students and the integrity of our instructional program that I have made the difficult decision that MCSES students in grades 3 – 5 will pivot to fully-remote instruction, starting Monday, January 11 and lasting through Friday, January 15. Please note that Monday, January 18 is a holiday. Therefore, in-person instruction for grades 3 – 5 will resume on Tuesday, January 19.
We understand the inconvenience of a sudden shift to remote learning but we have no other choice. We received confirmation today that an intermediate grade level student tested positive. The student was last present in school on Tuesday, January 5th. After working with the Columbia County Department of Health, it was determined that a significant number of elementary staff were exposed and must quarantine as a result.
Due to insufficient in-person staffing, this puts additional strain on our ability to operate in-person instruction for the intermediate grades both safely and effectively. For these reasons, we have unfortunately found it necessary to temporarily pause in-person instruction for students in grades 3 – 5, with the exception of self-contained special education classes. In-person instruction remains unchanged for self-contained special education students and all PK – grade 2 students at MCSES. Please note that there is no change to the instructional model for students in grades 6 – 12.
Contact tracing is ongoing and we are working to notify all students or staff who need to quarantine as a precaution. We encourage you to offer your full cooperation if you are contacted by a representative of the county health department or our school district. If you are not contacted by a representative by tomorrow, there is no further action needed on your part.
As you know, Wednesdays and Saturdays are days of deep cleaning at all schools and surfaces at MCSES were disinfected since the student was last on campus. Please be assured that the in-person learning environment remains safe for students and staff who will be returning on Monday, January 11.
As with every day school is in session, free breakfast and lunch are available for our remote-learning students. Get meal pick up locations and times here. Meals may be picked up by parents/guardians.
If you do not have adequate internet access at home, please contact the school on Monday morning at 518-828-4360 Ext. 1112 or 1113. Please continue to contact the MCSES main office with any questions you may have.
We are committed to providing a safe learning environment and we must continue working together to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in the community. Families and community members can assist our efforts by promoting healthy behaviors and following these practices:
- Know the symptoms of COVID-19 and how to identify them in yourself and others. The DOH has indicated that loss of taste or smell may be a primary indicator of COVID-19 in asymptomatic individuals.
- Stay home from school or work if sick, even if symptoms are mild.
- Wear a face covering in areas where physical distancing is difficult to maintain.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue (or sleeve), and then throw the tissue in the trash. Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching the eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces that are often touched.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid large group gatherings, especially where masks are not worn.
As a reminder, please monitor your child(ren) for signs of illness and report any absences to your child’s school, even if your student is fully remote. It is important for the schools to have student absence information on file due to the current COVID-19 safety protocols in place. The Reporting Student Absence Form, which should be completed any time your child is absent from in-person OR virtual school, is available in multiple languages and can be found on our website at www.hudsoncsd.org/parents. Monitor your family’s health and contact your healthcare provider if you notice new symptoms of COVID-19. Any positive COVID-19 test results should be reported to your child’s school as soon as possible. Anyone with questions or who needs to report a COVID-19 related health issue should contact their child’s principal or school nurse.
We appreciate your cooperation and partnership in the interest of everyone’s health and safety.
Dr. Maria Lagana Suttmeier