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District to resume in-person instruction on Jan. 4; one individual tests positive for COVID-19

Jan. 3, 2021

Dear Heatly families,

I hope you all had a restful and enjoyable winter break. 

As you may have seen, Albany County Executive Dan McCoy said yesterday that he recommends all schools in the county go on pause. As a result of those comments, all Albany County school superintendents met with representatives from the county yesterday evening, including Albany County Health Commissioner Dr. Elizabeth Whalen. It was determined that schools can safely reopen because all available data indicates that the rate of virus transmission in schools is low. County Executive McCoy released a statement last night clarifying his comments. The statement can be found on his Facebook and Twitter accounts. 

The district confirmed today, Jan. 3, that one individual in our school community tested positive for COVID-19. The individual was last in the building on Wednesday, Dec. 23. As a result, there are no school contacts related to this case. This is the only confirmed case in our school community over the winter recess. 

As a result of only one confirmed case with no school contacts, we are able to resume in-person instruction tomorrow, Monday, Jan. 4. 

Additionally, open gyms have been postponed until further notice.

We recognize that the number of COVID-19 cases and the infection rate have continued to increase in our area. While this increase is alarming, it is not surprising, given the predictions from local, state and federal health officials. School not only provides necessary structure for our students, but it is one of the safest places for our students to be. We know that every day we hold in-person instruction makes a difference for our students. I also understand the impact that going fully remote could have on our community. 

As a reminder, parents have the option to switch to remote learning at any time. If you switch to remote learning, that commitment is for the remainder of the quarter (Friday, Jan. 29). If your child is switching from in-person to remote instruction, please review the guidelines, fill out this form and return it to the main office as soon as possible. Students will continue to follow their instructional schedule and are expected to attend class and complete all of the assignments.

All health and safety precautions remain in effect. We again remind you that it is critical to answer the daily screening honestly and that anyone who is sick should stay home. These are important precautions designed to limit the spread of the virus.

Unless staffing shortages require all-remote learning or there is evidence of broader virus transmission in schools, our schools 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. 

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. 

Please contact me if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Kimberly Ross
Superintendent of Schools