Positive COVID-19 Case in Wynantskill UFSD

Feb. 12, 2021

Dear Families,

The Wynantskill UFSD was informed today an elementary student has tested positive for COVID-19. The student has not been physically present in the building since Feb. 5.

The Rensselaer County Department of Health has determined no contact tracing is necessary due to the student’s extended absence. No action is necessary by any students or staff, and you may continue your usual schedules.

While we understand you may want additional details, privacy laws restrict us from divulging any further information about the positive individual. We ask that our families respect the positive individual’s privacy.

Upon our return from winter break, we would like to remind our families to please complete the state-mandated daily health screening form each day for your child(ren) prior to sending them to school. We also ask our families and staff to remain vigilant in following all protocols set forth by the CDC, NYSDOH and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, which includes practicing social distancing and proper hand hygiene, properly wearing face coverings and avoiding travel and gatherings. 

Please monitor your child(ren) for any symptoms of COVID-19 and report any absences and positive COVID-19 test results.

The health, safety and well-being of our students and staff remain our top priority. We continue to follow state and local guidance to ensure we are doing everything we possibly can to protect your family’s and the community’s health.

If you have any questions or need to report any COVID-related issues before we return to school on Feb. 22, 2021, please do not hesitate to contact me directly at myodis@wynantskillufsd.org.

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Mary Yodis
Wynantskill UFSD Superintendent

Letter From the Superintendent

November 23, 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians:

We take this opportunity to thank you for all you have done to date to stay healthy and keep your children and families safe. Your hard work in keeping everyone healthy and safe has allowed us to keep schools open for in-person instruction.

We are now entering a dangerous and uncertain time as the COVID-19 pandemic spreads across our country and state. Cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are accelerating across the country as more governors and local officials announce new measures to try to combat the spread of COVID-19. Locally, the eight counties that make up the Capital Region reported 271 new infections on November 16, which is the highest total of the pandemic.

We meet virtually with superintendents in Rensselaer, Columbia, and Greene counties twice a week and with our county health departments weekly to discuss COVID-19 related developments and ways we can continue to keep our buildings safely open for students and staff. In working with the local health department, it is concerning to hear of the ways COVID-19 is spreading. This includes parties (i.e., Halloween, birthday, gender reveal, baby showers), family gatherings with members from outside the household, social gatherings with friends, and interstate competitions.

If at any point you or someone in your family is directed to quarantine, please respect what you are being asked to do in the interest of public health. People in quarantine need to stay home, separate themselves from others in the home, monitor their health, and follow directions from the local health department.

Please continue to follow all safety guidelines outside of school hours including proper use of face coverings, social distancing, handwashing, avoiding gatherings and travel to states with high positivity rates and keeping your child home if they are sick.

As we look ahead to the Thanksgiving break, we ask for your help in making sure everyone celebrates and observes this year’s activities in a different way that puts health and safety first. According to the CDC, the safest way to celebrate this year is to celebrate with people in your household. Please consider virtual gatherings or other activities that reduce your and your child’s risk of getting the virus. Traveling, sharing food, and attending indoor gatherings outside your household increases your risk – and the risk of spreading COVID-19 within our schools.

We will be required by the state to test students and staff to keep schools open if the virus continues to spread in our region and we are identified by the state as a yellow, orange or red micro-cluster. While we are prepared for the possibility of a shift to remote learning in the future, we ask for your continued partnership so that we can remain open for in-person instruction. Ultimately, how well we continue to follow the COVID-19 protocols individually and collectively will determine whether we can continue to keep our school building open.

Finally, while the initial reports on two vaccines look promising, they may not be available to us until later this spring. As a result, we need to prepare ourselves mentally for a long winter ahead. This includes staying informed, being prepared if more restrictions are implemented, shrinking our social bubbles, connecting with others virtually and keeping our guards up.

We know that you have made many sacrifices the past eight months and for that we thank you. We ask that you please continue your efforts to contain this virus so that we can keep our schools open.

Thank you for your cooperation, support, and patience.

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Mary Yodis
Wynantskill UFSD Superintendent

Regeneron Scientists Virtually Join GD Students

Gardner-Dickinson students virtually performed science experiments with local Regeneron scientists this week.

Regeneron, a leading biotechnology company that invents life-transforming medicines for people with serious diseases, reached out to partner with Gardner-Dickinson during the 2019-2020 school year to visit students and perform STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) experiments with all grade levels.

This school year, Regeneron did not allow the ongoing pandemic to stop them from working with our students. Eight local Regeneron scientists joined classrooms virtually to bring students valuable science lessons and demonstrations.

Scientists virtually performed four experiments with students which included creating a leak-proof plastic bag, turning milk into plastic and more. Students applied the scientific method, making observations and forming hypotheses on each experiment.

Each student received an experiment bag from the biotechnology company. Bags contained pencils, a pencil sharpener, a book, markers and two at-home science experiments. All necessary materials for experiments are included. Experiments in bags are The Greenhouse Effect and Chromatography Butterflies.

Each bag given to students included inspirational quotes such as “try to be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud,” made famous by Maya Angelou. 

Regeneron continues to inspire our students through collaborative work and immersive experiences. Wynantskill UFSD would like to thank Regeneron for all efforts in submerging students in STEM fields.

Virtual classroom experiments and experiment bags were provided by the biotechnology company’s Rensselaer location.

Experiment bags are available for interested virtual students. Virtual families may pick up experiment bags in the main office vestibule at the following times: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., and 2:30 – 3:30 p.m.

 

Positive COVID-19 Case in Wynantskill UFSD

November 19, 2020

Dear Parents/Guardians,

Wynantskill UFSD was informed today that a middle school student has tested positive for COVID-19. The student has not been physically present in the building since November 10, 2020.

Per our health and safety protocols, we have been in communication with the Rensselaer County Department of Health to determine any necessary follow-up. The District is assisting the Department with contact tracing efforts using attendance records. The county is continuing to investigate at this time. The county has advised that due to the timeframe of the positive case notification we are to continue with our regular cleaning protocols. The District will perform an additional deep clean of the school tonight as a precaution. The building will be open as normal tomorrow, November 20.

We encourage you to offer your full cooperation if you are contacted by a representative of the Department or the District. If you are not contacted by a representative of the Department or the District, there is no further action needed on your part.

Due to privacy laws, we cannot divulge any further information about the positive individual, and we ask that our families respect the positive individual’s privacy.

Please continue to follow all safety guidelines outside of school hours including proper use of face coverings, social distancing, proper hand hygiene and avoiding gatherings and travel to states with high positivity rates. We also remind you to please complete the daily health screening form for your child prior to sending them to school.

Please monitor your child(ren) for any symptoms of COVID and report any absences and positive COVID-19 test results to your child’s school. Symptoms vary, and some people may not experience any symptoms. Please contact your healthcare provider (or the county health department if you do not have one) to be assessed if you or your child have one or more of these new or worsening symptoms:

  • a temperature greater or equal to 100.0° F
  • feel feverish or have chills
  • cough
  • loss of taste or smell
  • fatigue
  • sore throat
  • shortness of breath
  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
  • muscle pain or body aches
  • headaches or nasal congestion/running nose

Thank you all for your ongoing efforts to keep Wynantskill UFSD safe and healthy. Please contact me with any questions or concerns.

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Mary Yodis
Wynantskill UFSD Superintendent

 

 

Students Now Required to Transport Chromebooks Daily

 

Dear Families,

 

Beginning this Friday, Nov. 20, your child will be required to transport their Chromebook to and from school every day. Due to the increase in national, state and regional COVID-19 cases, a short-term school closure is a possibility at any moment. We want to ensure our students are prepared to pivot to remote learning without loss of instructional time should a short-term closure occur. At this time, there are no plans for a school closure. This is strictly in preparedness efforts if such a need arises.

Please be sure to read the District’s Remote Learning Plan regarding proper care of the Chromebook, parent and student responsibilities, internet safety, getting tech assistance and other important information. Remote classroom schedules are available on our website in the event we go virtual.

Please be sure your child brings their Chromebook to school every day, fully charged, along with its power cord and they take proper care of it. Please see below to review care for Chromebooks. Please note that students in kindergarten will not be taking their computers home daily. If there is a need for remote learning, we will schedule pick-up times for Chromebooks. 

If you have any questions, please contact Susan Stoya at sstoya@wynantskillufsd.org.

Thank you for your cooperation and continued support.

 

Sincerely,

 

Dr. Mary Yodis
Wynantskill UFSD Superintendent

Susan Stoya
Wynantskill UFSD Substitute Administrator

 

 

Care and Handling of Your Chromebook

  • You MUST ask permission before making any changes to the settings on your Chromebook.
  • Chromebooks should only be used for activities authorized by the school.
  • Be sure to shut down your Chromebook by pressing the power button at the end of every school day. This will prevent unnecessary drain on the battery and will speed up charging time.
  • Avoid bending the charger’s cord at sharp angles.
  • Position your charger so that you will not trip over it or roll over it with a chair.
  • Be gentle as you connect and disconnect the power cord.
  • Keep liquids and food away from your Chromebook. Liquids can damage the electronic components of your Chromebook. Close the lid of the Chromebook when you are not using it.
  • Don’t carry around your Chromebook. Place it on a desk or table where it will not fall or be dropped. Use both hands when carrying or moving your Chromebook from place to place.
  • Never carry your Chromebook by the screen.
  • Your Chromebook’s screen is a very sensitive component. It may crack if you slam the lid, drop it or expose it to pressure or weight.
  • Do not place any items on top of your Chromebook.
  • Use a damp (water), soft, lint-free cloth to clean the computer’s screen and exterior, You can also use packaged eye-glass lens cleaning tissues to clean the screen.
  • Remember you are responsible for any damages or misuse.
  • Keep your Chromebook away from small children and pets.
  • Keep your Chromebook in a secure area. Do not leave it in an unlocked car or outside.
  •  Leave repairs to experts. Under no circumstance should you attempt to repair your Chromebook. This may void any warranty and could hurt you. Contact the district if you are in need of repairs.

 

 

 

High School Choice: Averill Park Resources

Wynantskill UFSD will hold a live virtual discussion with Averill Park High School as an alternative to our annual High School Choice Fair. Averill Park High School has sent the following information for families to review prior to the virtual discussion on Thursday, Nov. 19, at 3:30 p.m.

APHS Presentation Slides

APHS Online Magazine

APHS Brochure

APHS Letter to Gardner-Dickinson Families

High School Choice: Live Virtual Discussions

Due to the ongoing pandemic, Wynantskill UFSD is unable to hold its annual High School Choice Fair. While we cannot have an in-person event where students can learn more about the high schools from which they can choose to attend, we still wanted to provide students with relevant information about those schools. The District will be holding live virtual discussions with each high school. Information on live virtual discussions is as follows:

 

Troy High School: Tuesday, November 17 at 2:30 p.m.
Link to join: https://zoom.us/j/94483825643?pwd=N0x1UUVYazJ3blBqSHpGMFBEZzVDUT09
Meeting ID: 944 8382 5643
Passcode: 881846

Averill Park High School: Thursday, November 19 at 3:30 p.m.
Link to join: https://zoom.us/j/99822962406?pwd=ZjdINXpoNStUSjdvbWEzeXVwNzJSdz09
Meeting ID: 998 2296 2406
Passcode: 332592

Columbia High School: TBD

Tamarac High School: TBD

Tech Valley High School: TBD

NYS COVID-19 Report Card

It has been brought to our attention that a positive case appears on the New York State COVID-19 Report Card for our District. The District did not submit this data and has not received any information regarding positive COVID cases within our schools to date. Rensselaer County Department of Health has confirmed although the positive student lives in North Greenbush, they are not a student within the Wynantskill UFSD. The positive student attends a neighboring district.

The New York State COVID-19 Report Card reads:

“All COVID-19 positive or negative test results for New York State residents 5-17 years old are reported by laboratories to the Department of Health. This data is matched to the school district within which an individual lives. This data reflects the number of COVID-19 tests and test results for students living in a school district. Note: Individuals 5-17 years old may attend a private or charter school in a neighboring district. Verification measures are in place to prevent duplicate reporting of lab results.” 

More information on COVID-19 reporting can be found here: https://schoolcovidreportcard.health.ny.gov/#/searchResults

The District’s top priority is the health and safety of our students, and we are committed to communicating transparently and keeping our school community informed. Should the District be informed of a positive case within our schools, rest assured you will be notified as soon as possible. Thank you for your understanding at this time.

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Mary Yodis
Wynantskill UFSD Superintendent

Letter From the Superintendent

 

November 12, 2020

 

Dear Families,

There has been an influx of COVID-19 cases at both a national and regional level. The United States recently hit a staggering record of daily cases with more than 120,000 infections in a single day, and the Rensselaer County Department of Health (RCDOH) has confirmed 48 new positive cases within the past three days with Monday, Nov. 9 being the second-highest daily case count since the start of the virus’ outbreak. The numbers continue to grow today.

Over the past few months, we have placed a strong emphasis on social distancing, proper mask wearing, and hand hygiene in an effort to control the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and to keep our students, staff members and community as safe as possible. Our students have done an exemplary job following all safety protocols and have been taking this seriously. For this, we have our school community’s families to thank.

It is of vital importance we all remain vigilant in reinforcing health and safety protocols during this influx and moving forward, whether we are in school or at home. We understand this has been emphasized for months, but it is crucial we do not let our guard down. 

Please make a constant, conscious effort to follow all guidelines set forth by the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Yesterday, Gov. Cuomo announced new guidelines during a press conference. New guidance included limiting both indoor and outdoor gatherings in private homes to 10 people, which will go into effect tomorrow, Nov. 13. at 10 p.m. Gov. Cuomo also recently released an updated travel advisory. Please review our letter explaining the advisory and what it means for us at Gardner-Dickinson.

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, the governor’s new guidance may affect holiday plans. Wynantskill UFSD strongly encourages its families to do everything they can to celebrate the holidays in a way that prevents further COVID-19 spread and allows our schools to remain open and safe. Keeping our students safe and providing the healthiest school environment possible is a team effort. Each community member plays a vital role in protecting our students’ education.

We are proud of the way our students have conducted themselves throughout these challenging and difficult times, and we are thankful for our school community’s support and continued commitment. Now is not the time to become complacent. We must persist and continue to act in a responsible, community-centered manner. Now more than ever, we are in this together, and we must remain GD Strong.

 

Sincerely,

 

Dr. Mary Yodis
Wynantskill UFSD Superintendent