COVID-19 Information & Updates
Resources for Parents
For additional information
Updates From Andy Irvin
March 26, 2020
In the likely event that Governor Cuomo extends the school closure beyond March 31, the Carmel Central School District is determined to provide continuity of learning and a sense of community for all Carmel students. While we recognize that nothing can replace face-to-face learning experiences, our plan is to utilize our existing technological infrastructure with a few additions to promote and continue learning at home.
We are completing phase 1 of our plan which included distributing learning packets, setting up food distribution, arranging childcare for our first responders/healthcare workers, and lending laptops to families in need.
We are now ready for phase 2 of our distance learning plan. A comprehensive Distance Learning Parent Guide will be sent out shortly. In this plan, teachers will assign work, be accessible daily via Microsoft Teams or e-mail, and engage in weekly “office hour”.
Within the next week, you will also receive an e-mail with your child’s e-mail login and password. Additionally, your child’s principal will send a survey asking parents/guardians to approve their child’s use of Zoom as an optional video conferencing platform. When you receive this please complete and submit at your earliest convenience to expedite the process.
We have modified our school calendar so that Spring Break will now take place during the week of March 30-April 3. This time gives teachers the opportunity to fully plan and implement distance learning. Distance Learning in the Carmel Central School District will begin on April 6th and will continue during each regular school day until such time as we can safely return to school. Note: No new school work or teacher office hours will take place on Thursday, April 9 or Friday, April 10 in observance of Passover and Good Friday.
These plans may evolve as we continue to navigate the uncharted waters. We appreciate your patience and understanding during these extraordinary times as we continue to create a positive learning experience for our students. Thank you for continuing to support one another and our schools during this time.
March 17, 2020
Last weekend I notified our community that our schools would be closed for five days based on an Executive Order issued by the Putnam County Executive. As you may be aware, since that time, Governor Cuomo has issued his own order closing all schools in New York State effective March 18, 2020 through March 31, 2020. Although we have nothing definitive, we should be prepared for schools to be closed beyond then as well. If additional guidance is provided as we approach March 31, I will certainly update everyone.
For those eligible for free and reduced lunch, the CCSD website (www.carmelschools.org) will be updated with information regarding access to those services. We will also post contact information for other community resources such as food pantries and food banks.
Should you have any questions regarding COVID-19 in general, you may call 2-1-1. You can also email COVID19@putnamcountyny.gov or call the New York State Department of Health's COVID-19 hotline at 1-888-364-3065.
This a time of great uncertainty and can easily raise anxiety for even the most calm individuals. Please make sure to take care of your own well-being so that you can take care of family member and loved ones.
As always stay safe and healthy.
March 13, 2020
This morning, more than 50 regional superintendents and the Acting Commissioner of the New York State Education Department met to discuss the Coronavirus and its impact on schools. There is a deep collective concern for the safety of our students, staff, and those in our respective communities. In light of these concerns, the Putnam County Executive, Mary Ellen Odell, has declared a state of emergency and issued an executive order suspending all classes and extra-curricular activities—essentially closing our schools for a period of five days. This will take effect starting Monday, March 16, 2020. By law, the executive order cannot be longer than five days, but we should be prepared that this is likely to be renewed for at least another five days (March 23-27, 2020). While there are currently no COVID-19 cases in our schools, this school closure is consistent with the model of social distancing as recommended by the CDC and so many medical professionals.
We understand the hardship that a school closure places on the families in our community. This is not an easy situation for any of us. However, we are at a critical juncture. For the greater good of our school community, and in light of the many staff members and students who are considered part of the vulnerable population to COVID-19, the only conscionable choice is one that protects our students and staff as best we can.
We will send more information on Monday regarding access to the educational continuity packets that have been prepared for students. I will keep our school community apprised of any further developments as they arise.
March 11, 2020
Over the past several weeks, my updates on the COVID-19 virus focused on cleaning and preventative measures we are taking within the District. I would like you to know that in addition to this, our teachers and principals have been working together to create a plan that would allow for the continuity of education for our students in the event we must close schools.
While we recognize that teaching and learning that normally takes place in a classroom cannot be replicated at home, we intend to provide educational activities, lessons and/or projects for students in the event of a long-term closure due to the COVID-19 virus.
Staff members will finalize these plans during the scheduled Superintendent’s Conference Day on Friday, March 13, 2020. Plans will then be shared with parents by early next week. Although we do not have the capacity to provide devices for students, there will be a combination of activities that can be done with or without access to a computer and/or the internet. It is our hope that we will not have to utilize these plans. We are however, taking a conservative approach to be prepared for the worst-case scenario.
In regards to the school calendar, NY State Education Department has given no guidance on what will happen if our schools are forced to close for health and safety reasons. Past practice has shown that whether or not continuity of education is provided, it is likely school days will have to be made-up in order to fulfill the State’s 180 school day requirement.
Undoubtedly, we are closely monitoring this fluid situation and preparing for potential school closings. We have been reminded by the Putnam County Department of Health that parents/guardians too should prepare and have emergency plans in place in the event schools are required to close due to COVID-19.
As always, we thank you for your continued partnership as we work through this evolving situation.
March 9, 2020
Everywhere we look for the past several weeks we cannot help but see and hear about the continued spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). Carmel Central School District takes this public health issue seriously. As such, please know that we are in regular communication with the Putnam County and New York State Health Departments, the New York State Education Department and our regional PNW BOCES Health and Safety office. In our briefing with the Putnam County Health Department this morning, we were informed that currently there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Putnam County and that the risk is designated as low.
As I have communicated over the past several weeks, the District is following strict flu season cleaning protocols in our school buildings. Additionally, we are performing deep cleanings and disinfecting more regularly than during a “normal” flu season. We continue to use only cleaning products approved for use in schools during the week. A more highly concentrated bleach cleaning solution is used on the weekends when we have the ability to allow the buildings to air out before students and staff return.
It is important to reiterate precautions families can take including: frequent washing hands with soap and water (hand sanitizer is not a substitute for doing so), covering coughs and sneezes, staying home when experiencing cold and/or flu like symptoms, and consulting your healthcare provider if you are concerned for your or a family members’ health.
This is clearly a very fluid situation. We will provide you with the most up-to-day information as it becomes available to us.
February 28, 2020
As we are all aware, news of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is everywhere and thus can be understandably alarming. While there are no confirmed cases in our local region we continue to closely monitor the situation. We are in regular contact with the Putnam County Health Department, The New York State Department of Health, and the New York State Education Department. These agencies, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continue to provide guidance for school districts.
Our actions are in alignment with their recommendations. We continue to follow strict flu season cleaning protocols as suggested by the Health Department. This includes stepped-up cleaning and disinfecting of our buildings each afternoon/evening. Daily, we monitor student and staff attendance for any large spikes in absences due to flu-like symptoms.
As always during the flu season, we encourage you to remind your children about healthful habits. Recommendations include frequent hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home when sick. In addition, we ask that you stay informed and get information from reputable sources such as those linked below.
The health and well-being of our students and staff is our first priority. We thank you for your partnership as we monitor this evolving situation.
- Centers for Disease Control Coronavirus Disease 2019 https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
- Centers for Disease Control Flu https://www.cdc.gov/flu/treatment/takingcare.htm
- New York State Department of Health https://www.health.ny.gov/
- Putnam County Department of Health https://www.putnamcountyny.com/health/
February 6, 2020
A new coronavirus called 2019 Novel (new) Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was first found in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. This virus had not been found in humans before. This coronavirus can lead to fever, cough and trouble breathing or shortness of breath. There are thousands of diagnosed cases in China and new cases being diagnosed in a number of countries including the United States.
What do we know?
Since this virus is very new, health authorities continue to carefully watch how this virus spreads. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is working hard to learn as much as possible about this new virus, so that we can better understand how it spreads and causes illness. The CDC considers this virus to be a serious public health concern. Based on current information the CDC recommends avoiding travel to China. Updated travel information related to 2019‐nCoV can be found at: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/warning/novel-coronavirus-china
How Does 2019 Novel (New) Coronavirus Spread?
Health experts believe the virus probably spreads from animals to humans and from person to person. It’s not clear yet how easily the virus spreads from person-to-person. The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCov) is not currently a concern for the general public and is not actively circulating among New Yorkers at this time. Therefore, there is no need to cancel school or social events, and there is no need for students or school staff to wear surgical masks at school.
There are currently no vaccines available to protect against this virus. The New York State Department of Health (DOH) recommends the following ways to minimize the spread of all respiratory viruses, including 2019-nCoV:
- 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 if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you 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.
- Routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- CDC recommends that travelers avoid all travel to China.
Information to date suggests that 2019-nCoV causes mild-to-moderate illness and symptoms like the flu, including fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.
Are visitors from China being screened?
Yes, as of February 2nd new screening protocols are conducted for individuals entering the US from China at designated airports.
PreK-12 schools may have students who attend school and have traveled to various areas in Asia, including China. Students should not be excluded from school or any school activities based on race, country of origin, or recent travel (or a family member’s recent travel), including to any part of China. Schools may only exclude a student if a local health department informs the school that a student must comply with a quarantine order or the student is symptomatic of a communicable or infectious disease pursuant to Education Law §906.
Important Health Information for Those Who Have Recently Traveled to Wuhan, Hubei Province, China and Experience Symptoms
If you recently traveled to Wuhan, China and feel sick with fever, cough or trouble breathing; OR you develop symptoms within 14 days of traveling there, you should:
- Seek medical care right away. Call ahead and tell them about your travel and symptoms.
- Avoid contact with others.
- Stay home, except for seeking medical care.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Wash hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Contact your local health department.
This is an emerging, rapidly changing situation. For questions please contact your local department of health or the NYS DOH Novel Coronavirus hotline at 1-888-364-3065.
We encourage you to keep up to date about 2019-nCoV, its treatment and prevention by visiting the following websites:
- CDC’s dedicated 2019-nCoV website at https://www.cdc.gov/nCoV.
- NYSDOH’s dedicated 2019-nCoV website at https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/coronavirus/
- NYSDOH directory of local health departments https://www.health.ny.gov/contact/contact_information/
- New York State Center for School Health website at www.schoolhealthny.com