Happy February! I am thrilled we are starting our sixth month of the school year and are still able to safely offer in-person learning five days a week here at Gardner-Dickinson. Despite the spikes in COVID-19 cases across the state and in our region over the past few months, the district’s number of positive cases remains low.
To date, we have had a total of nine COVID-19 cases in our district. Two staff members and seven students have tested positive since the beginning of the school year, of which four were middle school students and three were elementary students. Three of the seven students who have tested positive occurred over the holiday break, so no quarantining was necessary for those cases.
As I recap the district’s numbers, I’d like to address additional data. When we had cases where positive individuals’ last date of attendance fell within the exposure time frame and placed students and staff under a mandatory quarantine, no one developed symptoms or tested positive as a result of exposure. Since the beginning of the school year, there have been 106 students and 15 staff members placed under mandatory quarantine at some point. That brings the district to a total of 121 people exposed with no spread of the virus.
This supports the ideology of federal and state officials, health departments and other experts who say the spread in schools is limited and that students are safer in school.
I am overwhelmingly proud of the efforts from our faculty, staff, families and our students who continue to follow all safety procedures and protocols this difficult, unprecedented school year. The year has thrown us a number of curveballs including teachers having to adjust to teaching in-person and remote students simultaneously, Zoom parent and faculty meetings, parents jumping in as tutors and helping community members and students and staff maintaining social distance and wearing masks. Implementing all of these procedures has allowed us the privilege of seeing our students five days a week, a feat not commonly conquered. I sincerely thank everyone for their efforts. This has been a team effort.
I would like to thank everyone who participated in our district survey to gauge how things are going at the mid-way point of the school year. I’d like to take this opportunity to share some pertinent data gathered:
- About 92% of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed that they feel their child is safe at the Gardner-Dickinson school
- 95.2% of respondents either agree or strongly agree that the drop off and pick up process is going well
- 98% of respondents either agree or strongly agree that the district addresses state and local mandates and what they mean for us
Your feedback is crucial to further development within the district and provides us with insight on areas in need of improvement. I’d like to thank everyone who participated again. We will be using your responses to guide changes and continue navigating through the school year.
Our winter recess is approaching (Feb. 15-19). I’d like to remind everyone to follow Gov. Cuomo’s travel guidelines during the break to prevent further spread of the virus within our region. Please continue the tremendous work you have all been doing throughout the year by properly wearing masks, social distancing and practicing proper hand hygiene through the break. Have a safe and happy February break!
Dr. Mary Yodis
Wynantskill UFSD Superintendent