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Thanksgiving and Covid-19 Information Update Message from Dr. Gerold

The message below was delivered on 11/24/2020 to all district households via Blackboard Connect:

Good afternoon.  This is Roberta Gerold, Superintendent of Schools, calling to wish you a safe and healthy Thanksgiving – and to provide you with some information.

Communities in New York - and across the country, are seeing an increase in positive COVID-19 cases.  The Department of Health has told us that these upticks are stemming from community events, not school events.  Schools – because of precautions like social distancing, washing hands and wearing face masks, are safe.  There are positive cases identified in schools, but because of these safety precautions, the cases are contained.  Schools are not spreading the virus.  

Because of an uptick in cases, a few Long Island communities have been identified as yellow zones.  A yellow zone designation means that additional restrictions on businesses, restaurants, houses of worship, and schools will be imposed.  A yellow zone is considered a buffer zone; the thinking is that the additional restrictions will stem the increase in transmissions and communities won’t be moved to the more serious orange and red designations.  

Schools in a yellow zone have to test 20% of in-person students and staff in order to remain open. If test results show that the percentage of positives is lower than the yellow zone’s current rate, the schools can remain open without additional testing.  If testing shows that results are higher than the yellow zone rate, schools may remain open but additional testing will be required.  So far, schools in yellow zones are finding that the percentage of positive results is significantly lower than the area average...another piece of evidence that schools are safe. 

You have told us how important it is that we stay open for in-person learning.  We can do so if all of us continue to carefully practice social distancing, wear our masks, wash our hands and avoid large gatherings. 

Middle Country isn’t a yellow zone – and we hope we won’t be designated as one, but we want to be prepared, just in case. In a couple of days, you’ll receive a survey on whether you will permit your child to be tested with the rapid BinaxNOW testing kit, administered by one of our school nurses, if Middle Country is ever designated as a yellow zone.  

We are doing what we can to make sure that children and staff can safely participate in in-person learning.   You, too, are doing what needs to be done because we haven’t been notified of any super spreader events or COVID hot spots in our community.  Middle Country is a strong, wonderful community that does what it needs to do to keep its residents healthy and safe!

I wish you and your families a healthy, happy and tasty Thanksgiving.  We are thankful that you entrust your children to us; we are thankful for the care you all take to keep us safe so that our schools can remain open.