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An update from the superintendent on the coronavirus – Monday, March 9

Dear Stillwater Community,

With the recent news of confirmed cases of COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus, within the Capital Region, district officials are continuing to receive information from local, state and federal officials. As of today, Monday, March 9, there are no confirmed or suspected cases in the Stillwater Central School District.

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 Stillwater school or district activities at this time. Experts from the New York State Department of Health have not recommended that the district cancel or reschedule classes or other school events. Accordingly, all school based curricular activities will continue unless we receive different guidance from the New York State Department of Health or the governor’s office.

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. However, 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 district website and email. According to Governor Cuomo’s update this morning, if a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, a new regulation from the Department of Health and the State Education Department will require the school to close for 24 hours for a mandated assessment by the Department of Health.

For now, the most important thing you can do to protect yourself and your children continues to be following standard preventive practices for influenza. There are a number of steps that students, staff and community members can take to minimize the spread of all respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, according to the New York State Department of Health:

  • 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.
  • 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.

We are preparing to meet the needs of our students and staff in the event the virus affects our community. The district is currently increasing the routine cleaning of school buildings and buses and reinforcing handwashing with all students and staff members.

Finally, 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 (i.e. China, Iran, Italy and South Korea). Based on this, any student, student 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 county health department.

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. Please be sensitive to those students who may be more impacted (international students, those who have recently traveled to affected countries and students at risk for discrimination).

For more information, please visit the Center for Disease Control’s web page for coronavirus and travel, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/after-travel-precautions.html.

We will continue to share more information as it becomes available. As always, if you have any questions please reach out.

Please know that, as always, the health and safety of our students and staff is our highest priority, and we will remain vigilant in our efforts to help prevent the spread of this illness.

Sincerely,

Patricia Morris
Superintendent of Schools