PV Schools

Good evening,

We are all being inundated by a constant stream of information about COVID-19.  In many cases, this barrage of information has led to a great deal of anxiety, fear, and questions. Personally, this situation is impacting my professional life and entered my personal life when my eleven-year-old son started asking difficult questions about the virus; if he will get sick, and if so, what will happen to him.  While these questions would be distressing to any parent, I’m in a position where I have been receiving a wealth of information and have maintained an almost constant connection with state and regional health professionals. This allowed me to easily address his questions and alleviate his concerns. I also understand that much of this information may not be readily accessible to the general public. It is my intention to share some of the most relevant information with our students, staff, and community within this email.

To begin, I want to start by stating that our schools are open, they are safe, and they are operating as normal.  The District is in regular communication with a variety of local, regional, and state organizations and is closely monitoring all developments. We are committed to ensuring that our buildings are kept clean and disinfected and we have already implemented additional cleaning procedures. I would like to take this opportunity to thank David Spittal and our custodial staff for all of the extra work they are completing on a daily basis to help keep us healthy. Below are some of the specific procedures that we have implemented to clean and disinfect our school buildings and property.

  • Increased inventory of sanitizing products
  • Disinfecting classrooms daily
  • Cleaning frequently touched surfaces with CDC approved antiviral products
  • Providing staff with disinfectant wipes- Group effort
  • Added hand sanitizers throughout the buildings
  • Sanitized and disinfected every bus
  • Implemented a weekly bus disinfecting schedule
  • Communicating the importance of hand washing
  • Ordered electrostatic sprayers for more efficient disinfection ongoing

This morning, I participated in a conference call hosted by a wide range of state officials including representatives from the Governor’s Office, State Department of Health, and other state and local organizations.  Our first priority is to maintain a safe learning environment and we are responding in multiple ways. We have already implemented a rigorous process for the disinfection and cleaning of our school facilities. We are communicating on a regular basis to educate staff, students, and the community regarding the facts while dispelling some of the fears associated with the virus. We continue to share best practices for personal protection (i.e. handwashing) and plan to continue to provide accurate information that will help to keep our community informed and calm.

If you take one thing away from this email, I’m hopeful that everyone better understands the distinction between direct and indirect exposure.  The difference between these exposure types drastically informs our decisions and impacts the response of our school district. Please see my summary of the differences between Direct and Indirect Exposures:

Direct Exposure: Can only be determined by the Department of Health(DOH). This designation is reserved for instances when individuals are in direct contact or within close proximity of an individual who has been tested and confirmed by the DOH to have COVID-19.  In the case of direct exposure, the DOH would immediately begin to contact those individuals who may have been in contact with that individual who tested positive, school districts are near the top of the list. If the school were to receive information from the DOH confirming a direct exposure our response would in part depend on whether that individual was symptomatic during the time of exposure.  These decisions would be made in direct consultation with state and local health departments.

Indirect Exposure:  This remains the most likely form of exposure and is expected to become increasingly common as the virus continues to spread around the region.  Indirect exposure would occur if an individual had contact with another person who had contact with someone who had tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.  To a lesser degree, this would include individuals who may have second-hand exposure to someone who is currently in quarantine, individuals who are self-monitoring, or individuals who may have had contact with an individual suspected of having the virus.  In all cases of indirect exposure, the relative risk to the school district remains extremely low and the guidance from the DOH is to continue operations as normal.

Please be reassured that the Putnam Valley School District is following all guidance from the DOH and CDC to ensure our buildings are clean and safe. The district remains committed to sharing timely and accurate information that will empower our school community to understand what is being shared by the experts and to make informed decisions on how to best protect each other while filtering out the misinformation and unverified causes for concern.

We remain hopeful that the preventive measures everyone is taking will allow us to keep our schools open and full of happy and healthy children. I will be sharing this information at tonight’s Board of Education meeting. The meeting begins at 7 pm and is available via live stream at pvcsd.org.

Thank you for your partnership.


Dr. Jeremy Luft
Superintendent of Schools