We wanted to make our families aware of five additional cases of COVID-19 in our school community over the holiday recess. Per the health department, none of the cases required contact tracing procedures. The reason we’ve sent multiple notifications about cases over break is that there are several factors that can impact when the Albany County Department of Health is able to confirm a new case. These factors include the date on which an individual is tested and when the results are sent from the lab to the health department. Also, at times, we may be working with health departments from other counties.
Please note that, although the COVID-19 infection rate continues to increase in our region, all available data indicates that the rate of virus transmission in schools is quite low compared with the larger community. Unless staffing shortages require all-remote learning or there is evidence of broader virus transmission in schools, we will plan to remain open for in-person learning. We will continue to work with our public health partners to monitor all available information, including how the increased infection rates relate to schools.
All health and safety measures remain fully in effect throughout the district. They include mask wearing, social distancing, enhanced cleaning and disinfecting, and the submission of a daily health screening form.
Four of the five additional cases were identified at Cohoes High School. The individuals were last in the building on Dec. 8, Dec. 21 (two cases), and Dec. 23, respectively. The fifth case was identified at Cohoes Middle School and the individual was last in the building on Dec. 23.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and other privacy laws restrict the district from disclosing or confirming any personally identifiable information and we cannot identify anyone who has tested positive.
Please remember that the best plan for addressing the COVID-19 virus is to remain informed and follow these steps to help contain the spread of the virus:
- Keep at least a 6-foot distance between you and others when out in the community — even if you don’t feel sick or have any symptoms
- Wear a snug-fitting surgical or cloth face mask that covers your nose and mouth
- Stay home when you are sick
- Call your healthcare provider in advance of a visit
- Limit social gatherings
We will continue to work closely with the Department of Health and communicate any necessary updates via ParentSquare and our district website.