Dear Parents and Families,
I am certain you are aware of the announcement yesterday about confirmed cases of COVID -19 in Albany County. Menands Union Free School District does not have any confirmed cases of COVID – 19, nor does the North Colonie School District where some of our graduates attend high school. Out of an abundance of caution, two students at Shaker High School are under self-quarantine per doctor’s advice. The students are not showing any symptoms nor have they been identified to have COVID-19 at this time. We continue to carefully monitor the situation and follow the guidance of the local and state departments of health, the CDC, and the NYS Education Department.
We want to assure you we have continued enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols. The same is true of the bus companies that transport our students. Our school nurse has visited each classroom to review basic hygiene protocols including hand washing, keeping hands away from one’s face, and coughing into a sleeve or tissue. Our staff members are reinforcing these practices and we ask that you do the same at home. As has been shared in prior communications, if your child is sick, keep them home; if they exhibit symptoms of a respiratory illness (including fever, cough, shortness of breath) contact their doctor and inform our school nurse.
Given the locality of the recent cases, and out of an abundance of caution, we have made the decision to suspend all activities that would be considered a large group gathering for the foreseeable future. This includes the following events:
- The Drama Club Production (3/20 & 3/21)
- Rehearsals will be suspended as well
- PTA Middle School Fun Night (3/27)
- The PTA Multicultural Fair (4/3)
- The Talent Show (4/9)
Additionally we will be restricting the use of the building by outside groups effective immediately, and limiting visitors to only those who have necessary scheduled meetings. After school clubs and practices, and Y-Time will continue to meet as they include only our students. Sports contests with other schools will be suspended until further notice.
While we hope we will not have to do so, we have been directed to plan for alternative means to educate our students in the event of a closure. To that end we have made the decision to move up our Superintendent’s Conference Day which was originally scheduled for Friday, March 20th, to Monday, March 16th. We understand the challenge this may create for some of our families, but believe it is the best course of action so we can be prepared in the event of a closure. School will not be in session for students Monday March 16th. Staff will be participating in a professional development day.
Also as it relates to providing alternative instruction at home we are reviewing our ability to utilize technology to do so, but we will need your help, particularly as it relates to technology. A survey will be forthcoming (posted on our web page and sent via Everbridge), asking each family to provide most current email addresses, and asking a few questions regarding access to technology at home. Once it is sent out please complete it as soon as you are able.
We recognize that the continuing public health concerns around COVID-19 raise many questions and considerations in our community. We are doing our best to provide as much information as possible in light of this rapidly evolving situation. Thank you for your patience and partnership, and we’ll continue to keep you informed. As always, the health and safety of our students is our highest priority, and we will remain vigilant in our efforts to help prevent the spread of this illness.
Dr. Maureen A. Long