September 7, 2021
Dear DCS Community:
The staff of DCS and I are all very excited to welcome students back tomorrow. Here are just a few last minute updates:
COVID Protocol Updates
Earlier this summer, I sent out our layered mitigation strategies for returning to school this fall. Since that time, the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) has also issued a determination mandating the use of masks in schools. This mandate is in effect until it is rescinded, regardless of the transmission rate in the community, which remains high. You can find our revised strategies here.
Schenectady County Public Health Services has released (SCPHS) helpful diagrams that describe how contact tracing will work this year. Vaccinated individuals will not be quarantined unless symptomatic and so we continue to recommend vaccination for all eligible students and staff.
If a student is quarantined for more than two days but is able to virtually attend class, we will provide hybrid instruction similar to the model we used last school year. Please note that this is the only time we would provide hybrid instruction.
The NYSDOH also recently issued a determination regarding testing. This determination requires schools to mandate weekly testing for unvaccinated staff, weekly surveillance testing for students, and diagnostic testing for symptomatic students. In addition to these requirements, we will also be requiring unvaccinated athletes to test weekly to participate in athletics. SCPHS will be coordinating testing for schools in the county. Tests will be self-administered cheek swabs and will require parent consent to be administered. I will be sending out consent forms in a later update when the testing system is online.
Upcoming Capital Project
On September 23, 2021 between 1 PM and 9PM, the community will be able to vote on a referendum to construct a new bus loop and replace some windows at the Elementary School. This project will cost approximately $1.4 million and will have no impact on taxpayers. If you are interested in the details and the progress of this project, you can subscribe to updates on our ClearGov page. We will also be using this space to post updates on other district projects.
There will be a public forum at 6:30 PM on 9/14 in the high school auditorium during which we will present project details with our architects and provide you with an opportunity to ask questions. While this forum will be streamed on our YouTube channel, only in person attendees will be able to ask questions.
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Jim Niedermeier, Ed.D.