KINDERHOOK—The Ichabod Crane School District announced Sunday night that it was closing the primary school and moving to online learning for middle and high school students on Monday, October 26 due to a student testing positive for Covid-19. An email to parents read, in part, that the district is in regular communication with the Columbia County Department of Health (DOH) “to assist them as needed with their contact tracing investigation and to determine how we will proceed on Tuesday, October 27.”
The email, sent out Sunday night along with a phone call, said the district was notified by DOH on Sunday evening that a student in the primary school has tested positive for Covid-19.
“We are currently working closely with the DOH who will be taking the lead role in a complete contact tracing investigation to determine any potential contacts the student may have had both in and outside of school. The DOH or a district administrator will directly contact those who may have been exposed within 24 hours. In the event you are contacted by a representative of the DOH, please offer your complete cooperation so we can isolate any potential ongoing exposure,” said the email.
The email went on to say that “to err on the side of extreme caution” all students would stay home Monday, October 26.
“Although the positive case is in the primary school, we are closing all buildings while we identify all associations of the positive student including siblings,” the email said.
Currently the district is working on a hybrid schedule with in-person classes five days a week for primary school students (kindergarten through 3 grade). On Mondays and Tuesdays, half the grade 4 through 12 students have in-person classes, with the other half of the students working remotely online. All middle school and high school students are home, working online on Wednesdays.
Kindergarten through grade 3 students did not have classes on Monday since “at this time district devices are not yet available for remote learning in those grades,” according to the email. Grades 4 through 12 students have district laptops or Chromebooks that were given to them for online learning days at the beginning of the year.
“Please be assured that we will not reopen any of the school buildings until we are 100% sure the DOH has completed their contact tracing investigation and until impacted areas of the buildings undergo a complete deep cleaning/disinfection. Any individuals identified as contacts will only be allowed to return to the school buildings once their quarantine period is completed and they are cleared by the DOH,” the email says.
On October 21 an email went out to parents saying that DOH informed the district that a contractor working in a contained section of the high school building had tested positive for Covid-19. “After carrying out their contact tracing procedure, we have been advised by the DOH that two non-instructional high school staff members have been placed in quarantine for the required 14-day period due to their contact with a positive case.” Since it was a “contained incident” and the contractor had no contact with students or other staff members, the district was advised to continue operations as normal. The middle and high school buildings are currently undergoing major renovation work.
Earlier in October, the district announced that a middle school student had tested positive for Covid-19. “However, the student has not physically been in school since September 15,” the email to parents read.
In many of the emails from the district, including the one on Sunday, the district wrote, “We ask that all school families, students and staff members continue following all safety guidelines outside of school hours, including wearing masks when in public, social distancing, limiting group gatherings and practicing good hygiene.”
Information is at www.ichabodcrane.org/district/school-reopening-updates/