In celebration of the first full week of the school year, please wear your GD apparel or wear royal blue and white to show your school spirit on Friday, September 17!
Author Archive: Wynantskill
Virtual Open House Week
Wynantskill UFSD will host a Virtual Open House Week for all families. Virtual Open House Week will begin on Monday, September 20 and will run through Thursday, September 23.
Meeting sessions will run 20 minutes each, and meeting start times range from 5 p.m. to 7:20 p.m.
You will receive meeting links from your child(ren)’s teacher(s) on Friday, September 17.
Please review the Virtual Open House Week schedule below:
As students throughout New York State returned to school over the past week, Governor Hochul announced the launch of a #VaxToSchool campaign. The campaign is aimed at getting more 12-17-year-old students vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.
The CDC states that the number of children being hospitalized for COVID-19 has increased since early-July when the Delta variant arrived. Adolescents can contract and spread the virus, and they are at risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and even death.
The New York State Department of Health is currently investigating more than 500 reported cases and at least 2 deaths in New York of an inflammatory condition “MIS-C” which is predominantly in school-aged children who experience symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease and toxic shock-like symptoms, possibly due to COVID-19. Overall, 98 percent of children displaying these symptoms have tested positive for COVID-19 either by diagnostic testing, antibody testing, or both.
The NYSDOH urges all school-aged children 12 years and older to get their free COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their communities. At the moment, children under the age of 18 may only get the Pfizer version of the vaccine.
- COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, and free.
- COVID-19 vaccines have been used under the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history, which includes studies in adolescents.
- Your child will need a second shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine 3 weeks after their first shot.
- Your child can’t get COVID-19 from any COVID-19 vaccine, including the PfizerBioNTech vaccine.
- Your child may get a COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines at the same visit or at separate visits without any waiting period between vaccines.
Prepare for your child’s vaccination visit.
- Get tips for how to support your child before, during, and after the visit.
- Talk to your child before the visit about what to expect.
- It’s okay to ask questions. Talk to your child’s healthcare provider or a trusted licensed medical professional in your community about concerns you many have. You can also visit the dedicated resources and FAQs.
- Tell the doctor or nurse about any allergies your child may have.
- Comfort your child during the appointment.
- After your child’s COVID-19 vaccination, you will be asked to stay for 15–30 minutes so your child can be observed in case they have a severe allergic reaction and need immediate treatment.
Positive COVID-19 Case at Wynantskill UFSD
September 13, 2021
The Wynantskill UFSD has learned today that an elementary school student has tested positive for COVID-19.
We have been in close communication with the Rensselaer County Department of Health (RCDOH) to determine any necessary follow-up. The district is assisting the RCDOH with contact tracing efforts using attendance records. RCDOH is continuing to investigate at this time.
The county has advised the district to continue with its regular cleaning protocols. The district will perform an additional deep clean of the school as a precaution. The building will be open as normal.
We encourage you to offer your full cooperation if you are contacted by a representative of the RCDOH or the district. If you are not contacted by a representative of the RCDOH or the district, there is no further action needed on your part and you may continue your usual schedule. 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.
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.
We ask that all families continue to follow all safety guidelines outside of school hours including proper use of face coverings, social distancing and proper hand hygiene.
Please monitor your child(ren) for any symptoms of COVID-19 and report any absences and positive COVID-19 test results to your child’s school.
Thank you all for your continued support and ongoing efforts to keep Wynantskill UFSD safe and healthy. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me directly with any questions or concerns.
Dr. Mary Yodis
Wynantskill UFSD Superintendent
Arrival and Dismissal Update
COVID-19 Screening Questionnaires
Dear Wynantskill Families,
Please be aware that COVID-19 screenings are required again this year for all students and staff at Gardner-Dickinson. Parents and guardians should have received an email from EdVista this morning containing the COVID-19 screening questionnaire.
Though screening submissions only need to be completed once per week, parents and guardians must screen their child(ren) each morning before bringing them to school for any new or unusual symptoms of COVID-19. If your child(ren) exhibit(s) any symptoms, please ensure they stay home and are seen by a physician.
Thank you for working to keep the Wynantskill community safe!
Wynantskill PTA Meeting and Sign Up
The Wynantskill PTA will be hosting its first meeting of the 2021-22 school year on September 21 at 7 p.m. via Zoom. Please find the meeting link here.
The Wynantskill PTA needs your support! How can you help? Join the PTA! Find more information and the annual membership application here.
Updated Opening Information from Dr. Yodis
Dear GD Families,
Our goal is to continue, as we successfully did last year, to provide in-person learning five days per week during the entire 2021-22 school year. The spread of the Delta variant has certainly complicated our reopening plans, but we are confident that continuing the mitigation efforts put in place last year will provide a safe learning environment.
The recommended layered approach to mitigation strategies from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) enabled us to remain in school during the 2020-21 school year without a whole-school shutdown and with very few positive COVID-19 cases within our school community. Gardner-Dickinson will continue many of the same guidelines and strategies that were proven successful to prevent outbreaks and/or a school closure.
The following is a summary of our reopening plans, beginning September 8, 2021 based upon the most recent guidelines and recommendations provided by the NYSDOH, CDC and NYSED in conjunction with our Regional County Departments of Health. * Please note our full updated reopening plan will be posted to the website very soon.
Multi-Layered Mitigation Strategies
Wynantskill UFSD will continue to:
- require parents to screen their children before bringing them to school, ensuring that they stay home and are seen by a doctor when they are sick (weekly check in required using EdVista’s email screening system coming soon). Please review the CDC’s guidance regarding what to do if a student becomes sick or reports a new COVID-19 diagnosis while at school;
- check the temperatures of all students and adults as they enter the building;
- promote frequent handwashing with soap and water and offering hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available;
- clean and disinfect our building and school buses; and
- maximize our ventilation system by running it 24 hours instead of 12.
- On site surveillance testing of students and staff will be implemented in conjunction with Questar III BOCES and Rensselaer County DOH when test kits are available. Parental consent is required. (more information coming soon). Review the Commissioner’s Determination on COVID-19 testing from NYSDOH.
In accordance with the Commissioner’s determination issued pursuant to 10 NYCRR 2.60, all students, personnel, teachers, administrators, contractors, and visitors must wear masks at all times indoors, regardless of vaccination status.
Masks will be optional when outdoors on school property.
Students will be provided mask breaks when seated in class and physically distanced 6 feet apart.
Students will remain at 6 feet of physical distance whenever possible throughout the school building. All classrooms will be set up so student desks are 6 feet apart from one another. Allowing us to continue at 6 feet of physical distance in the classroom is due to the fact that we have adequate space in the building to add additional learning spaces. We added a third section of 3rd, 5th and 7th grades by allocating additional rooms for classrooms and hiring additional faculty. Class sizes are between 15-20 with 20 being the maximum. Teachers may choose to have students work for short periods of time at 3 feet (pulling 2-3 students to the back table for reteaching) following additional mitigation strategies listed above.
No lockers to be used at this time.
Sixth graders will use their desks and baskets.
We are not cohorting at this time in the 7th and 8th grades, and students will move about the building for each period. Seventh and 8th graders can carry a backpack from class to class (students will have laptop computers instead of textbooks making this less of a burden).
All students and staff must wear face masks while riding on a school bus regardless of vaccination status. CDC guidelines permit buses to operate at full capacity. Windows and roof hatches will be open to increase ventilation on the bus. Cleaning and disinfecting will continue following each bus run daily.
Parents who plan on driving their children to and/or from school are asked to please inform Kathy Fazioli, firstname.lastname@example.org, and/or Mike Goyer, email@example.com, in our Transportation Department to assist with our planning.
In an attempt to allow students to eat safely back in the cafeteria this year instead of eating in their classrooms, we have added desks spaced 6 feet apart. We will also provide layered mitigation protocols that will include hand washing or hand sanitizer before and after meals; cleaning and disinfection between lunch periods; providing increased ventilation of seating areas and encouraging students to eat quickly and move out to recess as soon as they are done.
K-8 students will move to their specials and will have seating 6 feet apart as they do in all classrooms (Library, Art and Music).
Thank you to our new and very talented music teacher, Marie van Maastricht. We will be offering band this fall to our 7th and 8th graders. Band students will maintain the 6 feet social distance of students during instruction with bell covers to prevent aerosol spread.
When indoors, students will maintain 6 feet of social distancing during physical education instruction. Physical education teachers will prioritize outdoor activities as weather permits.
Both girls and boys modified soccer teams will be offered to students this fall.
We are currently working with Questar III and Rensselaer County DOH to implement a surveillance testing program of student athletes in accordance with CDC recommendations. Parent/guardian consent for testing of students is required.
A full remote option for students will not be made available this year from our faculty and staff at Gardner-Dickinson, as we are focusing all of our efforts toward our daily in-person instruction.
A fully remote option will only be considered for those students who have a documented medical condition that does not let them attend in-person learning. Documentation for such a medical condition will be necessary for the district to discuss out-of-district remote options. Questar III BOCES is currently developing a program for medically eligible students, which would be taught by BOCES faculty. If you have a child that would be in need of such an alternate program, please contact Dr. Yodis as soon as possible at 518-283-4600 ext. 250 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Temporary Remote Due to Quarantine
If your child is placed under a quarantine order that has been issued from the Department of Health, he or she will receive classroom instruction from their teacher with both google classroom assignments and livestream instruction for their core subject areas. Once notified by the DOH, Nurse Gibbs will inform the teachers to reach out to families and set up the online learning model.
Consistent with CDC guidance, all close contacts of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 must quarantine unless they are fully vaccinated. People who are fully vaccinated do not need to quarantine after contact with someone who is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 unless they also present possible symptoms of infection; however, they should be tested 3-5 days after exposure and must wear a mask indoors for 14 days or until they receive a negative diagnostic test result.
Wynantskill UFSD will work closely with the Rensselaer Co. DOH to determine the appropriate quarantine orders.
Please see our contact tracing charts developed with Questar III and Rensselaer County Department of Health.
The CDC indicated that vaccination is the leading public health strategy to end the pandemic. All eligible individuals are encouraged to receive the vaccine as soon as possible.
Currently, there are three vaccines available (Pfizer-ages 12+, Moderna-ages 18+ and Johnson & Johnson-ages 18+). If you have any questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, please contact your family physician. If you need assistance finding where you can get a vaccine, click here.
- Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in K-12 Schools (CDC)
- COVID-19 Guidance for Safe Schools (American Academy of Pediatrics)
- Back to School Health and Safety Guide (NYS Education Department)
We understand your apprehension and your continued frustration with the ongoing pandemic. However, we must continue to work together, model safe behavior and best practices for our students.
We need to continue to focus on our Gardner-Dickinson school community, which is like no other, and continue to have hope. Hope for wellness, hope for peace and hope for a successful in-person teaching and learning experience where our children are able to grow academically, socially and emotionally.
This pandemic has forced us to adapt and function in ways we have never imagined. This will undoubtedly be another year that will test our strength, patience, and ability to plan, adapt and improvise, but I am beyond confident that we will get through it together. We did it last year, and we will do it again … this time better, this time stronger! GD Family Strong!
Thank you for your continued support,
Dr. Mary Yodis
Wynantskill UFSD Superintendent