School resumes Monday, Jan. 4; notification of 9 cases over break

Dear Cohoes Families,

I hope you’ve had a restful and pleasant holiday break. As we head into the new year, I want to take this opportunity to thank you for everything you’ve done to help make this school year possible. We could not do this without your continued support and partnership.

The main purpose of this message is to affirm that our schools will reopen for in-person instruction tomorrow, Monday, January 4.

  • Grades Pre-K-5: In-person instruction for all students
  • Grades 6-12: Hybrid instruction for students (Monday is a GOLD day)

We recognize that the COVID-19 infection rate continues to increase in our region. However, all available data indicates that the rate of virus transmission in schools is low. Governor Andrew Cuomo has said that the precautions taken in schools have been effective.

The superintendents of the Capital Region BOCES area met over the weekend and are united in our belief that schools are the best place for children to be during the day. Last spring we saw the effects of closing schools for all in-person learning. So far this year, we have seen that schools can open safely amid this pandemic.

Unless staffing shortages require all-remote learning or there is evidence of broader virus transmission in schools, we will 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. In addition, remote learning options continue to be available to all families.

At school, all of our health and safety measures remain fully in effect. They include mask wearing, social distancing, enhanced cleaning and disinfecting, and the submission of a daily health screening form. It is critical to answer the screening accurately. Please do not send your child to school if they have any symptoms or if they have been directly exposed to someone with COVID-19. These are important precautions designed to limit the spread of the virus.

We will also continue to notify you of any confirmed COVID-19 cases in our school community. The district learned over the break of nine positive cases:

  • At Abram Lansing Elementary School three new cases were identified. In one case, the individual was last in the building on Dec. 22. In the other two cases, the individuals were last in the building on Dec. 23. The Albany County Department of Health (ACDOH) advised that only one of the cases required contact tracing measures. Any students or staff who were considered close or proximate contacts were contacted by Principal Cliff Bird on Dec. 24.
  • At Cohoes Middle School three new cases were identified. The individuals were last in the building on Dec. 16, Dec. 22, and Dec. 23, respectively. ACDOH advised that contact tracing procedures were not necessary, as no students or staff were considered close or proximate contacts.
  • At Harmony Hill Elementary School two new cases were identified. The individuals were last in the building on Dec. 21. ACDOH advised that contact tracing procedures were not necessary, as no students or staff were considered close or proximate contacts.
  • At Van Schaick Grade School one new case was identified. The individual was last in the building on December 23. ACDOH advised that contact tracing procedures were not necessary, as no students or staff were considered close or proximate contacts.
    The reporting of cases to the COVID-19 dashboard for schools will resume on Monday.

As we’ve seen over the last several months, the pandemic can create uncertainty, but we aim to communicate any updates or changes as quickly as possible. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns.

Peggy O’Shea
Interim Superintendent

Preparing our students for success in tomorrow’s world.

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