A letter from Dr. Warren Silverman, GCSD Medical Director

To the Parents, Students, Staff and other members of the Guilderland Center School District,

As we enter this new school year, we find ourselves faced with an ongoing pandemic from the Covid-19 virus. This public health crisis continues to inconvenience us and has and will make significant changes in the way we live our lives. Some of these changes modify the basic functioning of our society. In some parts of the world, the conditions are much worse and even beyond the life and death health issues people face grave dangers to their lives and families from hunger, lack of money and resources, and desperation leading to violence. As I talk to colleagues and friends around the world, it is clear that even with the inconveniences we face, that we are indeed the lucky few on this planet.

In the spring of this year, the attitude and mood were optimistic, that life could return to normal. Instead, we are faced with starting a school year while watching the illness attack rates going up, mortality going up, and in specific, seeing a different set of statistics regarding who is at risk. Last year, it was the weak, elderly and vulnerable that were at greatest risk. While we heard of
young and healthy people suffering from the effects of this illness, our concentrated effort was the most susceptible. This time, having vaccinated many adults and elderly, we are seeing regions where the hospitals are filling up with the young and healthy, children, suffering and dying.

I must admit that the plans we anticipated making for this school year in June are not the plans we are making in August. No one wanted a mask mandate. No one wanted limits on personal freedoms. It is important to recognize that the parents and staff of the district represent a wide spectrum of attitudes towards this pandemic. On the one extreme, there are those who cherish
personal freedom most of all, and who would choose to make these decisions personal and eliminate the public health controls of the government at all levels, including the district. On the opposite extreme, there are parents faced with children who are not able to be vaccinated who are terrified of losing a child to this illness. In a society where we educate our children en-masse
and the offspring from each end of the spectrum come together for many hours at a time each day, the district is responsible to both ends of the spectrum. And so, based upon the recommendations of our public health experts, we are left to design a program to protect students, staff and all others who attend or interact with the school district. The policies being
adopted for the beginning of the school year have been widely discussed, are based on the recommendations of our best public health officials, and are designed to use science to protect the members of the district to the best of our abilities. This has been a group effort and we apologize in advance for the convenience caused by this virus, but we look forward to your cooperation and compliance to help us get past this challenging time back towards normalcy.

GCSD Medical Director
Warren Silverman, MD

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