Dear Putnam Valley Community:
Despite the periodic snow flurries over the past few days, I have been promised that spring has actually arrived. The energy within the buildings continues to build as additional students return and the weather improves.
COVID Update: At the same time, we continue to see a rise in positive cases within our High School. It is evident that the current variant of COVID-19 that is spreading within our community is more susceptible to spread among our students. Current numbers across Putnam County show the virus is spreading quickly among individuals under the age of 20. In most cases, our mitigation strategies continue to prevent significant virus spread within our buildings; oftentimes, we are able to quickly trace the source of the positive case to exposures outside of our buildings. However, there have been instances where in-school spread cannot be ruled out. We continue to work in close partnership with the Putnam County Department of Health to monitor any potential spread of the virus within our building.
COVID Positive Cases: Unfortunately, we had another four students test positive for COVID at Putnam Valley High School and one student tested positive for COVID at Putnam Valley Middle School.
Quarantines: It is important to note that although New York State has granted school districts more flexibility to bring additional students back into our classrooms, the quarantine restrictions have not changed. For example, students may sit three feet apart in the classroom, but in the event of a positive case, contact tracing would include at least all students within six feet of the positive individual. In instances where students are not wearing a mask (snack, lunch, band, etc.) contact identification extends beyond the six feet.
Vaccinations: Vaccination continues to be the most effective way to protect yourself from the virus. Vaccination appointments are currently widely available. The Putnam County Department of Health vaccination clinics often have available time slots for anyone 18 years or older. Students who are 16 or 17 would need the Pfizer vaccine which is currently available at New York State run clinics. Our High School seniors still have the ability to be fully vaccinated and exempt from precautionary (asymptomatic) quarantine prior to the prom and graduation. (Appointments are currently available at Rockland Community College and Westchester County Center. See link below.)
End of Year Events: As we explore opportunities to celebrate our student accomplishments, in the event that in-person events are held, we anticipate all participants and guests will be required to show either a negative COVID test or proof of vaccination to attend. Each building is closely monitoring state guidelines.
Updated New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) Guidance can be found here: https://www.governor.ny.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/Pre-K_to_Grade_12_Schools_MasterGuidance.pdf
Updated Guidance for Commencement Ceremonies and School Proms (Issued by NYSDOH): https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2021/04/doh_covid19_updatedgraduationguidance_041221.pdf
Travel Advisories: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/covid-19-travel-advisory
Vaccination Information & Links
State Run Clinics: https://am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/
Putnam County Clinics: https://www.putnamcountyny.com/covid-19-vaccine-information/
Dr. Jeremy Luft
Superintendent of Schools