Dear Cohoes School Community,
As questions arise about the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and its confirmed spread to the Capital Region, I wanted to share information with our students, families and staff about how the Cohoes City School District is responding. The district is closely monitoring information about coronavirus (COVID-19) from local, state and federal officials. At this time, there are no reports of coronavirus in the Cohoes City School District and no individuals connected to our school community have been quarantined.
On Saturday, March 7, Governor Cuomo declared a state of emergency in New York, which gives the state certain purchasing and hiring abilities during this time. This declaration does not impact any school or district activities at this time. Experts have not recommended that the district cancel or reschedule classes or other school events.
State officials continue to emphasize that the general risk to the public is low and that while we all need to be vigilant and cautious, it is also important to stay calm and not contribute to any undue panic.
Regarding travel and quarantine measures, please know that the New York State Department of Health has made quarantine a mandatory measure for individuals returning to the United States from a known high-risk exposure area. Based on this, any student, student’s family member, or employee who has traveled to a known high-risk exposure area should notify the school principal prior to coming to school, as well as the Albany County Department of Health. Phone: 518-447-4580, Fax: 518-447-4698
For more information, please visit the Center for Disease Control’s web page for coronavirus and travel.
If the district becomes aware that one of our students or staff members is diagnosed with COVID-19, we will notify staff and parents/guardians through our Blackboard messaging system (phone call, email, text messaging) and district’s website. If you are not receiving these messages but believe you should be, please contact your school’s secretary to update your information.
On Friday, as part of our district’s emergency response plan, the Cohoes City School District’s Medical Director, Dr. DiTursi, met with principals, school nurses, the Director of Facilities, select staff, and representatives from the Cohoes Police Department, Fire Department and City to update and educate us about COVID-19.
According to Dr. DiTursi, the best way to minimize exposure to respiratory illnesses is to use good hygiene practices including frequent washing of hands, coughing into elbows, and staying home when sick. District staff will continue to promote these practices with students and model effective hand-washing, safe coughing/sneezing, and avoidance of touching the face (eyes, mouth, nose). Here are some additional guidelines:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Heavily soiled hands should be washed.
- 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 cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Each year, especially during the flu season, custodians/cleaners utilize cleaning regimens that include disinfecting student desks, doorknobs, staircase rails and countertops – anything that people touch is included in our nightly cleaning routines. We will continue to follow these routines and be thorough and vigilant with our cleaning practices.
It is important to note that exposure to COVID-19 can occur from any person-to-person contact and is not limited to a particular race or ethnicity.
More information about COVID-19 is available from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The state Department of Health also has information available on its website, including a coronavirus hotline. You can call the hotline at 1-888-364-3065 with questions or concerns about travel and symptoms.
Additionally, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association released a statement indicating that championship events will be held as scheduled. Schools and athletes are encouraged to practice risk mitigation as they prepare for participation in championship events and to follow recommendations from the New York State Department of Health.
The health and safety of our students and staff are our highest priority, and we will remain vigilant in our efforts to help prevent the spread of this illness.
Jennifer Spring, Ed.D., Superintendent