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4/30/21 - Message from Superintendent Migliori

April 30, 2021

Dear School Community:

I am writing you to provide a brief update on matters related to COVID-19.  

Within the past week, four Jr./Sr. High School students have tested positive for COVID-19 and there are several other students awaiting test results at home. Collectively, the four positive cases have placed more than 50 individuals in quarantine, with some not ending quarantine until May 10. Additionally, as a result of some of the positive cases, one sports team has been quarantined and another has been instructed by the Oneida County Department of Health (OCDOH) to self-monitor for symptoms. Consequently, it is the most people we have had in quarantine at the same time this school year.

As discussed in last week’s community forum, the new Center for Disease Control (CDC) and New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) guidelines – the latter of which were released on April 9 – gives the district the ability to bring more grades 9-12 students back for in-person instruction by decreasing the amount of distance between students from six to three feet, but only if certain parameters and county metrics are met. One of the biggest parameters – and roadblocks – is we would have to cohort students if social distancing in classrooms decreased from six to three feet. For this to occur, the same group of students would need to remain together during the entire school day and not be within six feet of students from other groups. This is close to impossible to achieve at the high school level. Such parameter was discussed extensively during the community forum, and most agreed it makes most sense to continue with the same structure we have been using for grades 9-12 all school year. Furthermore, while students only have to maintain at least three feet of separation in classrooms, they still have to be at least six feet apart in the cafeteria, hallways, physical education class, music class and on school buses.

There are only 30 instructional days left in the school year. Bringing back more students in grades 9-12 with so few days left increases the likelihood of spreading COVID-19 and jeopardizing many year-end functions, such as the musical, senior ball and graduation, as well as spring sports. In conclusion, even though the district could bring back more students, based on feedback, the risk of doing so outweighs the benefits at this time.

So, in order to still have everything that is planned, it is extremely important that students and staff experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 stay home and get tested. I know this can be inconvenient and symptoms could very well be something minor, like allergies. However, if someone ignores symptoms and it turns out to be COVID-19, so many other people can be affected.

In closing, the entire school community has done a fantastic job of following protocols, and I do not want us to let our guard down with just six weeks left in the school year. I truly appreciate your patience and your trust, support and faith in our reopening plans.

Sincerely,

Rocco Migliori
Superintendent of Schools