KINDERHOOK—The Ichabod Crane Board of Education met Tuesday in the middle school cafeteria with board members and the public wearing masks and sitting socially distanced from each other. The board heard a report on the opening days of school last week and new Covid testing requirements from the state.
Students returned to the district for in-person classes, five days a week, on Tuesday, September 7.
“We had a great opening,” said School Superintendent Suzanne Guntlow.
Since opening day there have been five students who tested positive for Covid-19 and one staff member. Superintendent Guntlow said at the meeting on September 14 that the district was waiting to hear back on some other test results.
She told the board that due to the district’s protocols of mask wearing and social distancing of 3 feet, fewer students and staff needed to be quarantined because of the positive cases. She said about 9 students were quarantined compared to last year, when one positive case would mean 50 to 60 students would have to stay home and quarantine. The cases so far include 3 students in the primary school, 1 in the middle school and 1 in the high school. The staff member who tested positive worked in the primary school, according to an email to parents.
Ms. Guntlow said the good news is that “all the cases seem to be faring well” with the illness.
The school has been sending out emails to parents and guardians with each positive case, but at the board meeting Ms. Guntlow said she would start submitting a weekly report that will be posted on the district website on Friday with case numbers. She said that students and staff who have had close contact with a positive case will be notified by email or phone call. She also asked again that parents closely monitor their children for signs or symptoms of illness and to keep a child home if symptoms are detected. She stressed that siblings of a sick child should also stay home until testing can be done.
She said that the Delta variant is highly contagious and that kids are catching it.
According to a release on the district website, the CDC (the federal Centers for Disease Control) states that the number of children being hospitalized for Covid-19 has increased since early July, when the Delta variant arrived. “Adolescents can contract and spread the virus, and they are at risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and even death,” the release says.
In the state, the Department of Health (NYSDOH) is currently investigating more than 500 reported cases and at least 2 deaths of an inflammatory condition “MIS-C,” which is predominantly in school-aged children who experience symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease and toxic shock-like symptoms, possibly due to Covid-19. The NYSDOH urges that all school-aged children 12 years and older get their free Covid-19 vaccine as soon as possible to protect themselves, their loved ones and their communities, the release says.
At the board meeting, Ms. Guntlow announced that the state has released new guidelines for Covid protocols and released funding the county can use for testing equipment for local schools. The state’s protocols include weekly testing for unvaccinated staff, which Ms. Guntlow says will hopefully start in October. She said that there is a shortage of testing supplies.
She also said an email will be going out to parents about consent for testing of students, which will also start in October. Currently the district is testing only student athletes in high risk sports like football and volleyball. Ms. Guntlow told board members the district had to scale back the testing for all athletes due to a shortage of tests.
For the district’s protocols and to get weekly updates, go to www.ichabodcrane.org
Before the meeting, the administration hosted tours of the new construction in both the middle and high school buildings. The district is currently going through a major construction project. The board also heard a presentation on the work from the construction firm. Updates on the construction are also on the district website.
The board approved the new “Rider Goals 2024” at the meeting. The five headings for the goals are: student achievement; technology; health, safety and community engagement; budget and finance; and operational support services. The goals will be posted on the website.
The next board meeting will be Tuesday, October 12 at 7 p.m. in the primary school cafeteria.
To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email email@example.com\