Letter from Supt. Bills: COVID-19/Yellow Zone Update

Printable Version of Letter

November 24, 2020

Good evening,

This letter is to provide an update on matters of health and safety including an update of recent COVID positive cases and the NYS Microcluster Initiative and West Genesee designation of a “yellow” zone.

Case Update

In recent days, the Onondaga County Health Department (OCHD) confirmed four positive COVID-19 Coronavirus test results. One student from Camillus Middle School, one from West Genesee Middle School, a staff member from Stonehedge Elementary School, and a District employee. The District regularly supports the OCHD tracing investigations with relevant data of conditions and proximity to an identified case.

It is important to know that three of the cases required no school-based contact tracing (and therefore no school-based mandatory quarantines). The fourth case resulted in two persons being identified for a mandatory quarantine. As a reminder, tracing is a process that identifies any contacts of a person who tests positive for COVID-19 for a “look back” of 48 hours prior to a positive test or signs of symptoms.

We will not communicate personally identifiable information regarding any employees nor students per confidentiality with respect to personnel and provisions of Health Insurance Portability And Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) or Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA).

Micro-Cluster Zones

Yesterday, Governor Cuomo announced a change in the status of areas throughout NYS relative to “microclusters”. A meeting this morning with local officials confirmed information for West Genesee Schools and our community. All schools in the West Genesee CSD are identified in the “yellow zone”. This definition is connected to the current infection rates within portions of the community. Please refer to the Governors Micro-Cluster Metrics for more information.

On or after next Monday, November 30, our schools are mandated to participate in COVID-19 random testing at a rate of 20% for students and 20% for staff in each of our seven buildings. This will help to monitor the infection rate in schools as it relates to the community. Schools that participate at the mandatory rate will continue to be allowed to have in-person learning; full time or as part of a hybrid model. Please find a survey to complete that will provide the District the ability to gauge interest in free testing at your child’s school from Onondaga County Health Department. This is not the registration for testing, but an opportunity for us to plan and to identify those who will be sent the registration.

West Genesee will be scheduled between the dates of Monday, November 30 to Friday, December 11 for testing. The testing being performed is the BinaxNow nasal swab (only collects a sample from the lower part of the nostril) that produces results in about 15 minutes.  Once the schedule is complete and the WG testing date is determined, a link will be forwarded to those parents showing interest through the survey for student participation and to all staff within the designated buildings. Please look for that communication in upcoming days.

The District continues to take precautions to protect the health and safety of its students and employees. We appreciate your support and understanding on this matter. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your school health office, main office, or the WGCSD District Office. Have a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving!

David C. Bills
Superintendent of Schools