The following letter was sent from East Greenbush Central School District Superintendent Jeff Simons to all school staff and K-12 parents on Friday, February 28.
Dear Staff and Parents,
While there are currently no confirmed cases of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in New York State, we in the East Greenbush Central School District are aware of concerns in the community about the spread of this relatively new virus.
We provided you with information about the new coronavirus on February 6, 2020 that was sent to us by the NYS Health and Education Departments. While we have not received any further updates from the state, it is fair to expect more information in the coming weeks, due to the evolving situation.
The district is monitoring the situation and following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), NYS Departments of Health and Education and the Rensselaer County Department of Health.
The district has infectious disease protocols in place and has been focused on cleaning and disinfecting all school areas including classrooms, cafeterias and school buses to help minimize the spread of viruses and a variety of other illnesses.
There is no need to cancel school or social events at this time, and there is no need for students or school staff to wear surgical masks at school. With that said, our administrative team is taking proactive measures and discussing plans in the event that schools were to be closed or if there were a high level of student absences. We are thinking about various potential scenarios and would be prepared in the event of such an issue. However, NYSED guidance would be required to ensure we are in compliance with student attendance, testing and other requirements.
There are currently no vaccines available to protect against this virus. Like with all viruses and illnesses, there’s a tremendous reliance on individual precautions. The NYS Department of Health recommends the following ways to minimize the spread of all respiratory viruses, including COVID-2019:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing. If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash.
- Routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
If you or a family member begin showing symptoms of a respiratory disease and suspect it may be COVID-19, contact your healthcare provider. Before going to your healthcare provider’s office, inform them that a case of COVID-19 is suspected, and follow their advice.
Local health departments will contact schools if a suspected or known COVID-19 case emerges. The district is prepared to work with any affected families.
For more information, consider consulting these additional resources:
- Novel Coronavirus (NYS Department of Health)
- Coronavirus Disease 2019 (CDC)
- Information for Travel (CDC)
- FAQ for Travelers (CDC)
- Prevention & Treatment of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) – Frequently Asked Questions – Prevention
In addition, New York has established a Novel Coronavirus Hotline, which can provide additional information. Call 1-888-364-3065 with questions or concerns about travel and symptoms. The district will continue to share information as it becomes available.
Please know that, as always, the health and safety of our students and staff is our highest priority.
Jeffrey P. Simons
Superintendent of Schools