District-Wide Building Closure

District-Wide Building Closure
Posted on 11/17/2021

November 17, 2021

 

 

Fort Ann School Parents, Faculty, and Staff:

 

As we continue to work closely with the Washington County Health Department on the spread of COVID-19 in our community, we have noticed a dramatic increase in the number of positive cases in not only our district but in the County as a whole. Currently, Washington County has the highest positive test percentage in New York State with a 12.7% positivity rate. Unfortunately, this also coincides with the start of cold and flu season which has been abnormally high in our community this year, and has resulted in a high number of student absences in our district. 

 

District-Wide Building Closure

At this time, the District has confirmed a staggering 25 positive COVID-19 cases* resulting in a total of 85 individuals in quarantine in our schools. 

• 18 of the positive cases are in the Jr./Sr. High School

• 3 of the positive cases are in the Elementary School

• 4 of the cases are faculty and staff members 

• We currently are at an absentee rate of over 25% throughout the district

• These high numbers have negatively impacted our staffing abilities, including our transportation department, which is vital to our daily operations

 

After consulting with the Washington County Public Health Department, the District has decided to switch to virtual learning on Friday, November 19, Monday, November 22, and Tuesday, November 23, 2021, to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and the cold and flu in our school. Students PK-12 will return to in-person learning on Monday, November 29, 2021. We are hoping that this may reduce the spread not only in our building but over the upcoming holiday. This will also allow our district time to provide a deep cleaning of our buildings. 

 

Elementary students will be sent home with their chromebooks and chargers. Parents should look for communication from teachers regarding times for Google Meets in grades 1-5. Pre-kindergarten and Kindergarten students should use the packets sent home by teachers.

 

Jr./Sr. High School students will be expected to follow their normal schedule virtually on Google Meets. Faculty and staff will report to work at their normal times and instructions will be delivered virtually from their classrooms.  

 

School breakfast and lunch will be sent home with students on Thursday, November 18th for the virtual days of Friday, Monday, and Tuesday. 

 

NYS Mandates

Admittedly, if you asked us a year ago what we thought the 2021-22 school year would look like, we would optimistically say we’d be “back to normal.” We’d hope that the rules and regulations of the pandemic would be a thing of the past and that we could kick this year off with our regular routine. Having to endure another year of required COVID protocols is frustrating and undoubtedly impacts our abilities to create the educational environment we so greatly wish we could have at this time. 

 

We know that this is hard for students and parents alike. We want to remind families that according to NYS regulations, this is a reality that we must face together. While we do wish we could control the number of students who need to quarantine per exposure, we have to follow state guidelines to keep our schools open and to keep our building safe from COVID-19 exposure. Quarantining a student is something that is out of the control of the district, and is a mandated procedure that we must follow. 

 

That being said, we are the first to agree that quarantining is incredibly disruptive to the education of our children. It creates a tremendous burden on our families (finding daycare, making employment arrangements, etc.) but as a district, we are committed to doing whatever we can to avoid it. 


Our COVID mitigation plan ensures students and staff are socially distanced and wearing masks properly, which in turn, leads to a lower quarantine count whenever a positive COVID-19 case arises. By following these guidelines, we hope to keep our students safe, and the number of cases and exposures to an absolute minimum. 

 

During this upcoming week, we encourage you to monitor any symptoms your child may have and to get a COVID-19 test, should symptoms arise. By staying ahead of symptoms and potential spread, we can work together to keep our schools open for in-person education. 

 

Please feel free to contact your child’s school office if you have any questions. As always, we will inform you if there are any new cases within our district. Thank you and please keep yourselves and your families healthy over the holiday break. 

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Kevin Froats

Superintendent of Schools

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