Dear Putnam Valley Community:
I would like to express my gratitude for the hard work and dedication of the Putnam Valley Schools’ staff and administration for doing what was necessary to welcome students back into our buildings this week. Despite our ability to reopen schools, we remain on the tipping point of being unable to effectively staff our buildings. We are asking everyone to remain flexible as we continue to assess our situation on a daily basis.
In response to the current surge of COVID-19, the District has been forced to shift some of our practices to respond to the challenges before us. These changes are highlighted below.
Contact Tracing: It has become evident that the district will not be able to identify and report to the Department of Health the contacts of each positive case in a timely manner. At this time, we will pause the identification of close contacts. Notification will be made if your child was in the classroom or in close proximity with a positive individual. Surveillance testing is the most effective way to make sure your child is healthy. Everyone should closely monitor their child for any COVID related symptoms and immediately seek a test when symptoms first appear. More information on testing is below.
Testing: The Putnam Valley School District along with Putnam County Officials have committed to providing families with multiple testing opportunities. The District will increase availability of surveillance testing for staff, and Putnam County-run testing sites will be available from 6 AM to 9 AM exclusively for students and staff of Putnam County Schools. Limited quantities of home testing kits will be made available to families who are unable to travel to a county testing site. For more information on the Putnam County Testing Sites: http://www.putnamcountyny.com/health/covid19/#testing
Remote Access into Classroom: In response to the rapidly increasing number of individuals testing positive for COVID and the associated difficulty of identifying students who are symptomatic, under mandatory quarantine, or have tested positive; the district is preparing to offer short term remote access into the classroom. This access will provide students a window into the classroom. This option will be available through January 20 when the Board of Education will discuss whether an extension is needed. This is a short term solution to help us get through this surge, this will not be a long term option for students. Students who participate in remote access cannot participate in extracurricular activities or athletics. Remote access to the classroom will be available to the following students.
- Students presenting symptoms related to COVID-19
- Students awaiting test results
- Students with household contacts who have tested positive or are symptomatic
- Students who were close contacts to an individual who tested positive for COVID-19
- Students who are at “high risk” due to underlying health concerns
- Students with family members who are at “high risk” of health complications associated with COVID-19
Symptomatic Individuals: Increased availability of COVID tests and an option for remote learning should help ensure that symptomatic students remain at home. Anyone experiencing any of the symptoms related to COVID should be tested and take all precautions to prevent the virus’s spread. These symptoms include, but are not limited to:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Test to Stay Program: When the District resumes the identification of contacts to positive individuals within school, a test to stay program will be available for only those students identified. NYS does not allow Test to Stay for out of district exposures; students quarantined from outside of school must complete their 10 days before returning to school. In the event your child is identified as a contact of an in-school exposure and asked to quarantine, they may take advantage of the Putnam County run testing clinic to test back into class. It is important to note that the Test to Stay program will allow students who test negative to return to class, but they will remain quarantined from extracurricular and out of district activities.
Return to Work Program: Each staff member is considered an essential employee and may qualify for the return to work program. Individuals who tested positive, but have resolved their symptoms, may return to work beginning on Day 6 of their isolation period.
Let’s all hope that this is the final surge and herd immunity will prevail over COVID-19. Let’s remain steadfast in the fact that we are Putnam Valley Strong, and we can weather this current storm together as we have before. Hang in there!
Take care and Stay Well.
Superintendent of Schools