Letter Regarding Covid Testing Consent and Form

Dear Families,

Wynantskill UFSD is now required by the New York State Department of Health to test unvaccinated staff and to offer testing to unvaccinated students whose parents or guardians consent to this weekly testing.

We will be offering general testing in the near future to comply with this state requirement as well as expand point-of-care testing for students who are displaying COVID-19 symptoms.

General surveillance testing will be used to detect asymptomatic COVID-19 infections in unvaccinated students and staff using a rapid antigen test. Point-of-care testing will be conducted using rapid molecular testing involving the same shallow swab as the rapid antigen test. This will provide a quick result in the case of a student or staff member who began presenting symptoms while at school.

Today, we will be sending home a hardcopy of the consent form with your children; we are asking parents and guardians to please indicate their consent for these tests. You may consent to one, both or none. Please return the form by sending it in with your child or dropping it off in our main office by October 29, 2021.

We anticipate that both surveillance and point-of-care testing will begin early November. Members of our school staff along with Questar III BOCES nurses will oversee all testing, which involves gently swabbing the inner part of the lower nostril.

Regular testing will help protect everyone against COVID-19. Thank you for your continued flexibility, resilience, and patience as we work together to contain the spread of this virus.

 

Sincerely,
Mary Yodis
Superintendent of Schools
Wynantskill UFSD

 

Download copy of testing consent form here. 

 

 

Wynantskill UFSD Gardner-Dickinson

Letter Regarding Updates to School Opening

 

Dear Gardner-Dickinson Families, 

I am excited to officially welcome you back to school as we kick off the 2021-22 school year. The children are back and settling in nicely, still with smiles on their faces (under those masks, of course). 

Once again, we are opening another year in the middle of a pandemic that we had hoped would have subsided by now, which is not making it easy for students or staff. We have had to be very creative and flexible while remaining diligent in our efforts to keep the safety of our students at the forefront. We want to protect our school community from the COVID-19 virus, but also want our students to have as many of the freedoms they have missed over the last year as possible. 

An example of this is movement throughout the building. Students remained in their classrooms last year, leaving but once a day to get a fresh air walk, and never mixing cohorts. This year, we are trying to be a bit more flexible and not have students remain in cohorts all day long. We allow students to eat their lunches in the cafeteria and to move to all of their special area classes. Middle School students are also moving from class to class, and not cohorting as well. We are sanitizing desks and hands frequently, and no matter where the location is within the school, students always remain 6-feet apart. We have extended recess periods for all middle school students, giving all students the opportunity to eat and socialize outside with their entire grade level for 45 minutes each day – they are very happy about this. 

Unfortunately, during our first full week of school, we did have a student test positive on one of our bus runs, which resulted in the quarantining of 11 students. The CDC and NYSDOH are allowing buses to be at normal capacity in order to bring all students back to in-person learning five days per week. In our case, that means we are seating two students in every seat. This works well until there is a positive student on the bus. The NYSDOH is directing us to quarantine students within a large radius around the child, which can result in quarantining 10-20 students (depending on where the child is sitting). 

We understand that quarantining your child is stressful and burdensome for families, and we will support you as best as we can. If your child is under a quarantine issued by the RCDOH, they will be instructed to work remotely, with their teacher(s) guiding them each day while they are out. Please note that if your child is in middle school and has been fully vaccinated, they will not be placed in quarantine should they have an exposure on the bus or in school, as long as they are asymptomatic. 

Many of you are helping to reduce the number of students on buses by driving your children to school – thank you! We appreciate your efforts and patience as we work out a drop-off and pick-up schedule that accommodates the flow of traffic but does not take time out of the instructional day. While following the COVID protocols and guidance has presented many challenges, we are committed to making safety our number one priority. At the same time, we are striving to strike a balance between safety and the academic, social and emotional well-being of our students. 

According to a recent letter by NYSDOH Commissioner Howard A. Zucker, all P-12 schools will be required to “Offer screening testing for students (obtain parent or guardian consent for minors, and where otherwise required pursuant to school policy): P-12 schools are required to offer screening testing to unvaccinated students on a weekly basis in geographic areas identified by the CDC as having moderate, substantial, or high transmission rates.” Additionally, unvaccinated staff members will be required to be tested each week. See the full document here:
https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2021/09/2.62-determination.pdf

Our district is working closely with the Rensselaer County Department of Health to develop a surveillance COVID testing initiative as directed by the NYSDOH. The tests have been back-ordered but are expected to be here in upcoming weeks. This testing requires parent consent, so expect to see more information with permission slips coming home from Nurse Gibbs in the next day or so. To see the full interim guidance issued by the NYSDOH for the 2021-2022 school year, visit: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2021/09/school-guidance.pdf

We need to be reminded of the incredible strength we showed throughout last year, which carried us through 180 days of in-person learning without a building shutdown. This is an amazing accomplishment and we can and will do it again.

Thank you and please reach out should you have any questions or concerns.

 

Sincerely,
Dr. Mary Yodis
Wynantskill UFSD Superintendent

 

Show Your GD Pride

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!

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:

#VaxToSchool Campaign

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.

Vaccine Facts:

  • 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.

 

Find a vaccine provider here

Positive COVID-19 Case at Wynantskill UFSD

September 13, 2021

Dear Families,

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.

Sincerely,

Dr. Mary Yodis
Wynantskill UFSD Superintendent

Arrival and Dismissal Update

Dear Families,

We have appreciated your patience these first few days as we have worked to streamline our morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up procedures.
For morning drop-off: 
Pre-School parents, please drop off your child at 8:10 a.m. by pulling up to the main entrance once the buses have unloaded their students and left the circle.
For dismissal:
We are now staggering our pick-up time to avoid traffic congestion.
Thank you.

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!

We’re Hiring!

Are you interested in joining the GD family? We have employment opportunities available!
We are hiring on a rolling basis through December. Jobs are all for immediate hire contingent on NYSED fingerprinting clearance. Those without clearance must schedule a fingerprinting appointment through Identogo at:
We are hiring substitute teachers/aides, cleaners and bus drivers. Please reach out to Heidi Hallock at hhallock@wynantskillufsd.org if you are interested or would like more information on these positions.
Substitute teachers/aides: $102.00 per day with New York State Certification, $92.00 per day non-certified
Bus driver: Split AM/PM 4-hour shifts available. Single 2-hour AM or PM shifts are also available. AM Shifts are approximately 6:30 to 8:30 a.m.; PM Shifts are approximate 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Pay is $20 an hour plus health and dental benefits for certified bus drivers. Will train potential drivers for certification at a rate of $18 an hour. Must have a clean driver’s license.