GCSD Update on COVID-19: 6 p.m. March 12, 2020

Dear Parent/Guardian:

As you are aware, the Albany County Health Department notified us earlier today that someone in a household connected to the Farnsworth Middle School in the Guilderland Central School District has tested positive for COVID-19. That household is under quarantine. 

The situation regarding COVID-19/Coronavirus is rapidly evolving. The school district continues to monitor all guidance from local, state and federal agencies. At this time, there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus among our students or staff. 

We do have some updates to share regarding and important schedule change, our scheduled events and our planning in the event of a school closure.

All schools will be open and operating on Friday, March 13, which is a regular school day.

The information below is based on the information available at this time. We will provide an update when we have any new or additional information to share.

Important Calendar Change – No School Monday, March 16, 2020

The Guilderland Central School District COVID-19 Task Force met Thursday afternoon to discuss issues surrounding a possible school closure due to the virus. To help our faculty and staff prepare for possible remote learning for students, the Task Force has made the decision to move its scheduled Superintendent’s Conference Day to Monday, March 16, 2020. There will be no school for students on Monday. This means that Friday, March 20 will now be a regular school day. 

Technology at Home

To help us determine our students’ access to technology at home, please complete this Google survey. The information will be used by our faculty and staff to determine best practices for remote learning should that become necessary for GCSD students. We appreciate your cooperation in completing this survey. The deadline to complete the survey is Monday, March 16 at 10 a.m. 

School Events and Activities

Today, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that there will be no public gatherings of larger than 500 people in New York State. Schools have been identified as an exception to this. Our plan is to continue with the regular school day on Friday, March 13, but place limits on afterschool and extracurricular events.

Consistent with the state’s effort to restrict large gatherings:

  • Any large school events/gatherings that are scheduled will not take place. This includes our high school musical, Chicago, Celebrate America at Altamont Elementary School as well as dances that were scheduled to take place at Farnsworth Middle School and Lynnwood Elementary School.
  • All field trips and out-of-state travel are suspended.
  • The SAT administration scheduled for Guilderland High School on Saturday, March 14, will not be held.

We continue to emphasize that this is a rapidly changing situation and information is subject to change. We will provide as much notice via e-mail and text if there are any changes to scheduled events or school.

Planning for a Possible Closure

Schools have been asked to prepare for the possibility of closures to prevent the spread of this illness. In the event that school is closed, It is important to acknowledge that there are practical limits to instructional program continuity. Instead, our commitment will be to sharing a variety of resources for parent-guided and self-guided learning for students. This will include links, resources, and remote learning when possible.  

We believe that the steps outlined above are measured and appropriate given all that is known at this time. We continue to hear from public health agencies that the populations most at-risk are the elderly and those with compromised immune systems, and that the precautionary steps we all take can help minimize the spread of illness and decrease risk. The best thing we can do is to stay calm, continue to follow the advice of experts and do what we can to support each other as a community.

We recognize that the continuing public health concerns around COVID-19 raise many questions and considerations in our community. We are doing our best to provide as much information as possible in light of this rapidly evolving situation. Thank you for your patience and partnership, and we’ll continue to keep you informed.

Marie Wiles, Ph.D.

More Information and Resources

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