March 4, 2022
Dear Chatham Families,
Late Tuesday night, the New York State Department of Health released new COVID guidance for school districts across the state, as well as an FAQ. School superintendents met with county departments of health this week to discuss the latest guidance and how it will impact our students and staff.
As a reminder, masks are no longer required at school or on school buses/vans under most circumstances. However, the State Health Department recommends students and staff wear masks when:
They feel more comfortable wearing a mask for personal reasons.
They were identified as a close contact at school of someone diagnosed with COVID-19.
They are known to have been exposed to COVID in any setting within the previous 10 days.
They are moderately-to-severely immunocompromised and have discussed the need to mask with their healthcare provider(s).
Individuals are welcome to wear a mask if they choose to do so. Our school community has shown great resilience over the past two years, and we expect everyone to continue to practice civility and tolerance surrounding these individual choices.
The new state guidance requires schools to comply with three requirements. These include:
Those who test positive for COVID-19, or are showing symptoms of the virus and do not test/provide a differential diagnosis, must isolate and be excluded from school for at least five days following the onset of symptoms, and must wear a well-fitting mask in school and on buses if returning to school for days 6 through 10.
Unvaccinated staff must continue to be tested weekly.
The District must report cases daily to the NYS COVID Report Card.
All other items within the state guidance document are recommendations that our District will continue to follow. We urge everyone to adhere to the recommendations as well to help keep our buildings safe learning environments for all. We will continue existing COVID mitigation strategies, including cleaning and disinfection, physical distancing when possible, increased ventilation in classrooms, and notifying affected individuals of potential close-contact exposures in the school setting. We encourage students and staff to continue to practice healthy hygiene and to stay home when sick.
At-home Testing Update
For those needing to submit home test results to the District, please use the form located at https://forms.gle/eTq4PP61oFMEvNwe8. Parents/guardians will need to complete this form and upload a picture of the test result, whether it is positive or negative. If the test result is negative, your child may continue to attend school. If the result is positive, your child should immediately follow all isolation guidance. The form is also available on our website's COVID-19 Response & Resources page.
Thank you for your continued patience, cooperation, and understanding.
Superintendent of Schools