March 14, 2020 update:
On Monday March 16, classes are cancelled for all Chatham Central Schools. Staff will report at normal times.
On Saturday, March 14 the Superintendents from the 23 component districts in the Questar III BOCES region and representatives from all three county Departments of Health met for several hours to develop our plans and response to this rapidly developing public health crisis. We will be issuing a more complete statement Sunday afternoon around 4pm with details about the next two weeks. As of 3 p.m. today there are still no confirmed cases in any of the three counties.
March 13, 2020
Dear Parents and Guardians,
While, as of the writing of this letter, there are currently no confirmed cases of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Columbia County, the Chatham Central School District is taking the following actions to protect the health of our students, staff, and community. The situation is currently very fluid and our District’s response team continues to meet regularly to discuss preventative measures, as well as to address immediate and long-term needs. We will continue to update our community as this situation evolves.
To reduce the instances of community contact at our schools and to allow our custodial staff to focus on cleaning, we are taking the following preventative measures, effective Monday, March 16 through March 31:
- All field trips are postponed
- All school-sponsored public events are postponed (see list)
- MED Parent/Teacher Conferences will take place by phone (your teacher will reach out to you)
- Driver Education Program is suspended
- MED School Banking is suspended
- All Adult Education classes are suspended
- Use of our buildings by community organizations/leagues is suspended
- Visitors to our schools will be strictly limited to those needing to be here, i.e. students, staff, parents/guardians, and those essential to the operations of our school. All other visitors, including student teachers, interns, guest speakers, and mentors will not be allowed in our buildings.
The following events are postponed:
MED Spring Picture Day, March 16
CMS Spring Picture Day, March 19
Project Trio Concert @ CHS, March 20
MED PTA Books For Bingo, March 27
MED Musical Performances, March 27 & 28 (rehearsals continue)
MED Kindergarten STEM, March 31
All County Festival @ Ichabod Crane Central School District, April 1 & 3
Section 2 has suspended all interscholastic athletic competitions (scrimmages and games) now through April 19. Practices in Chatham will continue.
Potential School Closing
If the District becomes aware that a student or staff member is diagnosed with COVID-19, we will notify our staff and parents/guardians. Governor Cuomo has announced that any school that has a student who tests positive for COVID-19 will close for a minimum of 24 hours. During that time, the school will be cleaned and the Department of Health will assess the situation to determine if the school will remain closed for a longer period of time.
As we continue to be proactive in our actions, we have been meeting to develop an education plan in the event of a prolonged school closure.
Our District has ample cleaning and disinfectant supplies and we have increased the daily precautionary efforts we take during cold and flu season to clean and disinfect high-traffic and high-touch areas, including in classrooms and on buses. Along with our cleaning staff, we have made appropriate disinfectant products available to faculty and staff so that they may regularly disinfect high-touch areas in their classrooms or offices as well.
Changes To What Students Can Bring To School
- Students are now allowed to bring alcohol-based hand sanitizers to school in their backpacks, though handwashing is the preferable practice.
- Please do not send in homemade food to be shared.
We have created a new Coronavirus information page on www.chathamcentralschools.com and will be updating it regularly as this situation evolves.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol as a last resort if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Don’t share food, drinks, or eating utensils with others.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing. If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash then wash your hands.
- Routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, such as toys, cellphones, door handles, countertops, etc.
- Stay home when sick. Students cannot return to school until the child is without a fever for 24 hours, without the assistance of fever-reducing medicine.
- If you suspect you have a case of COVID-19, contact your healthcare provider before you go there, and follow their instructions.
When reporting an illness-related absence to your child’s school, please leave details (fever, cough, strep throat, etc.). We are actively monitoring attendance throughout the District.
According to the Centers For Disease Control (CDC), symptoms of the virus most commonly include fever with dry cough, shortness of breath, and pneumonia. Some people may have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. The virus is likely spread from cough and sneeze droplets, close contact with an infected individual, or by touching a surface contaminated with the virus and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.
The CDC has provided guidelines for travelers and it is important that everyone traveling or returning to the country follow all relevant recommendations/directives. The CDC and Homeland Security are applying travel restrictions and/or quarantines, were deemed appropriate, for people traveling internationally. Students and staff returning from currently impacted countries or regions of countries will be required to be under precautionary quarantine for 14 days upon return. The county health department is charged with enforcing any restrictions placed on returning travelers or persons under investigation. Schools cannot impose restrictions on students beyond those enforced by the government.
More information about Novel Coronavirus COVID-19 is available at:
Please know that the health and safety of our students and staff is a priority at Chatham Central School District.
Dr. Sal DeAngelo