Germantown goes remote for 2 weeks

Students from Germantown Elementary School connect with their teacher in the spring via Zoom. File photo

GERMANTOWN — Students in seventh through 12th grade in the Germantown Central School District will switch to remote learning until Nov. 30 after a positive COVID case.

A secondary-school student tested positive for COVID-19, prompting the switch, the school district announced Tuesday.

“The temporary change for just the secondary campus, which is seventh through 12th grade, is due to 12 staff members being in contact with the positive student, per the New York state guidelines,” said Germantown Superintendent Benjamin Bragg. “So they need to be quarantined to prevent any possible spread, since this is the case where there is insufficient staff to manage in-person classes at the secondary campus at this time.”

In addition to the 12 staff members who have had to quarantine, Bragg said eight other students are in quarantine.

None of the contact-tracing efforts found any possible contacts within the district’s elementary students or staff, Bragg said, so only seventh to 12th graders had to switch to a remote-only learning plan, which began Wednesday.

The district could not offer more information about the positive student due to privacy laws.

In the five remaining instructional days until the holiday break, the district’s maintenance department will conduct a deep cleaning and disinfection of all impacted spaces prior to the resumption of classes, according to a letter from the district to parents and families.

The letter also asks families to monitor their children for any possible COVID symptoms.

Symptoms can include coughing, shortness of breath, fever, chills, loss of taste or smell, headaches, muscle aches and fatigue, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Students experiencing symptoms should not attend school and should contact their health care provider.

“It is of vital importance we all remain vigilant in reinforcing health and safety protocols at this time and moving forward, whether we are in school or at home,” Bragg wrote in a letter to families Wednesday. “While we are taking every possible precaution in school, we are relying on you, the Germantown parents, families and community members, to work with us by ensuring students are following the safety guidelines outside of school.”

Thursday will remain a half day of instruction for students and for parent-teacher conferences, according to the school district. Parent-teacher conferences will continue as scheduled.

Germantown Central School District was informed Monday a staff member had also tested positive for COVID-19. The staff member had not physically been in school since Nov. 6.

The district also had two elementary-school students test positive in October, but they were not students attending in-person classes.

The Columbia County Department of Health has reported 862 positive COVID cases since the beginning of the pandemic. There are 369 people in mandatory quarantine and 93 have tested positive. There are 21 people hospitalized because of COVID-19, three of whom are in the intensive care unit.

“We are in unprecedented times where uniqueness and flexibility is necessary as we are challenged with the unknown,” Bragg said. “As much as I would like to have the students here and in-person learning, the safety of all is our priority at this point.”

Earlier this week, the New Lebanon Central School District also announced it would switch to remote learning after there had been a positive case in the district’s transportation system Saturday.

About 25 people in the district had to be tested and quarantined in relation to the positive case. New Lebanon is expecting to return to in-person classes after the Thanksgiving break.

A bus driver for the Taconic Hills Central School District tested positive for COVID on Monday. Seven students had to quarantine in relation to the case but the school did not have to switch to remote learning.

In the Hudson City School District, two fully remote students tested positive for COVID on Monday. Because they were remote students they had not been in contact with other students or staff in the district.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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