main content starts hereSuperintendent’s update: Schools to reopen Friday, Sept. 18

| September 16, 2020

Dear Parents, Faculty and Staff,

I am writing to inform you that for the administrators and teachers who were quarantined by the Schenectady Department of Health, their period of quarantine is expected to end this Thursday evening. As of this afternoon, there have been no related positive cases of COVID-19 at Mohonasen since the one positive case from September 4th.

That means for students who are in person learners, we plan to be able to resume our in-person reopening of school at Mohonasen on Friday, September 18th. Building principals will be communicating or re-sharing the specifics for each level in separate communications, such as what letter day applies at the secondary levels and what to expect with busing and parent drop offs at the elementary levels.

It is an understatement to say that the derailment of our original opening plans have caused concern and disappointment. Now is our chance to get back up, so to speak, and to show that we can safely reopen to in-person learning.

The Schenectady County Department of Health has recently provided two documents which will likely be of interest to all parents, faculty and staff. One item is a flowchart which shows what protocols are to be followed when a student or staff member is either symptomatic or COVID positive. This also helps to more specifically answer the parent question of “What happens when my child is sent home from school by the nurse with COVID-19 symptoms?” This document can be found here: “Protocol for Symptomatic or Positive COVID-19 Student or Staff.

The other document is a Question and Answer document which defines several COVID related terms and also answers many questions related to reporting COVID cases, contact tracing, communication to parents and staff, and the range of potential actions taken in response to a confirmed case of COVID-19. The Question and Answer document may be found here.

One important new clarification which changes part of Mohonasen’s Reopening Plan is in regard to what constitutes an appropriate face covering. Our plan previously relied on guidance issued by the NYSDOH and the Governor, but this guidance has changed as more information on effective face coverings has become available.

The following is taken from the Schenectady Department of Health’s Question and Answer document:

  • What kind of face covering is appropriate for students, faculty and staff?
    Cloth face coverings (or disposable “surgical style” masks) that cover both the nose and mouth are required in all school facilities, including on school buses. For activities where mask wearing is not possible (such as while eating) a six-foot distance must be maintained at all times. At this time, SCPHS is recommending cloth masks for most situations. SCPHS is not recommending fleece neck gaiters, bandanas, or scarves. Face shields worn without other appropriate face coverings are not an acceptable alternative. At times, some staff members will need additional personal protective equipment (PPE). Please consult with your school’s medical director or nurse.

Given this updated guidance, starting on Monday, September 21st, fleece neck gaiters, bandanas and scarves will no longer be acceptable face coverings at Mohonasen. Please note that neck gaiters of materials other than fleece are still allowed. Also remember that if students or staff do not wish to supply their own appropriate face coverings that the District will make face coverings available for them at no charge.

Yours in Service,

Shannon Shine,
Superintendent