Catskill goes hybrid after delay

District Superintendent Ronel Cook announced the Catskill school district will open to hybrid instruction this week after a delay due to a reported coronavirus case. File photo

CATSKILL — After delaying hybrid learning for two days due to a positive COVID-19 case, the Catskill Central School District will begin offering hybrid learning Thursday.

In the hybrid model, students are divided into two groups. Group A will attend school Mondays and Tuesdays and Group B will attend Thursdays and Fridays. All students will have virtual instruction on Wednesdays, when a cleaning crew will scour all buildings. The crew will clean again on Saturdays.

“I received clearance from the Greene County Department of Public Health to reopen our school,” Catskill Superintendent Ronel Cook said Tuesday. “I am pleased to inform you that hybrid instruction will begin on Thursday, Oct. 15, with students who are designated as Group B to receive in-person instruction.”

About 63% of the student body, or 823 students, will be attending school using the hybrid model, with the remaining 483 students learning remotely for the first semester, Cook said.

Tuesday’s announcement followed an elementary school employee testing positive for COVID-19 Saturday.

“I want to reassure you that I take the health and safety of our children and staff very seriously,” Cook said. “All buildings on campus have been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, in accordance with guidance from the New York state Department of Health and the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention].”

One additional staff member was placed on quarantine after Greene County Public Health conducted contact tracing, Cook said.

Staff and students undergo daily health screenings, including temperature checks, Cook said.

In the event of future positive tests, the district will consult with Public Health and make a decision about continuing in-person instruction, Cook said.

“After consulting with the Greene County Public Health Department, a determination will be made for the best interest of our students’ and staff’s health, safety and well-being,” Cook said. “If there is a need to revert to full remote learning, then the district will shift to remote learning.”

Greenville Central School had its first positive case, a middle-school teacher, Oct. 2.

Sixth-grade students switched to virtual learning and returned to in-person instruction Wednesday, District Superintendent Tammy Sutherland said.

“Sixty-three students and three staff members were instructed to quarantine,” Sutherland said. “Staff were able to telework and students attended school remotely so that there was no disruption to the educational process.”

Many staff members opted to be tested, Sutherland said.

“While no one was required to receive a COVID-19 test, many staff members chose to proactively get tested,” she said. “The district appreciated the efforts of the Greene County Department of Health in providing on-site COVID testing for interested staff members.”

The district will consult with Public Health in the event of future positive cases, Sutherland said.

“The district will continue to work with the local health department and assist with contact tracing efforts in the event of another COVID positive case,” Sutherland said. “The Department of Health determines who needs to quarantine and, based on that information, we will shift our learning models accordingly.”

The remaining Greene County school districts — Cairo-Durham, Coxsackie-Athens, Windham-Ashland-Jewett and Hunter-Tannersville — have reported no positive cases, according to the state’s COVID Report Card.

Hudson City School District did not adjust its schedule after an elementary student tested positive Sept. 28.

“At this time, the Columbia County Department of Health has not advised the district to alter operations in any way and the school building will remain open as scheduled,” according to the district website.

The student had not been in school or on a school bus, according to the district’s website.

Ichabod Crane also did not make any changes when a middle-school student tested positive Oct. 5, according to the county Health Department.

“Because the student has not been in a school building since [Sept. 15], we have been advised by the Columbia County Department of Health that there is no need to change our operations,” according to the district website. “This means school buildings will continue operating on their normal schedule and there is no district impact at this time.”

Chatham had an elementary-school teacher test positive, according to its COVID Report Card.

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