COVID-19 Update from Superintendent Alicea

     Published on 3/13/20   Tagged under:    Superintendent   

March 12, 2020

Dear SCSD Families,

The Syracuse City School District is continuing to monitor the latest developments relating to the Coronavirus (COVID-19).  The health and safety of our students, staff and families is a top priority and our entire administrative team has been working diligently to ensure we are prepared. 

At this time, there are still no confirmed cases in Onondaga County.  We are communicating regularly with the Onondaga County Health Department, New York State Health Department (NYSDOH) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and we will continue to follow their guidance.

This week, Governor Cuomo announced that if any individual working in a school or any student attending a school were to test positive for COVID-19 that the school would need to be initially closed for 24 hours.  This would allow for health experts to investigate the situation and determine next steps.  During those initial 24 hours, the school would be cleaned and sanitized in accordance with NYSDOH guidelines and a decision on when to reopen would be made after that.  In the event that we are told we have to close a school, we will notify you via the media, through our School Messenger robo call system and we will post the information online and on social media. 

Our Medical Director, Director of Health Services and several school nurses attended a training hosted by local health officials this week.  The training focused on the response of school nurses should a student or staff member be identified as possibly having COVID-19. 

If your child has flu like symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath) the recommendation from health officials is to please keep them home.  If your child develops these symptoms at school it is best that they see the school nurse in order to be evaluated and the school nurse will then contact you.

The SCSD Teaching and Learning department has been working on putting together academic information for students in case we have to close a building for any period of time.  We want to provide students and families with academic activities to continue learning in all subject areas while at home.  The activities are extensions of the learning that your children participate in each day at school.  They will be organized by grade level and subject area.  We are also working on providing some online learning options for students and families with access to the internet.  These academic activities and online learning options will be posted on our website, www.syracusecityschools.com/coronavirus.

If you have a child receiving services through the Special Education Department they will utilize your child’s next Committee on Special Education (CSE) meeting to examine any missed services and the possible impact this may have had on your child’s progress should we have to close a school.  Our classrooms with medically fragile students are being cleaned nightly and monitored very closely, as we know that those who are immunocompromised are the most at risk.

Earlier this week, we sent home information asking that you update your contact information if you know that it has changed since the beginning of the school year.  It is always important that your child’s school has the most up to date emergency contact information on file.  

The District is monitoring student and staff travel including professional development for staff and sports and academic competitions.  We are following the direction and guidance from the NYSDOH and looking at everything case by case.  We will notify you should a trip have to be cancelled.  We are also reviewing all of the building permits and the public use of our facilities. 

Please remember that the Coronavirus is thought to be spread via person-to-person contact through contaminated air droplets from coughing and sneezing by an infected person. Proper handwashing and sanitary measures are important to stay healthy.  As with controlling the spread of other viruses, we urge you to speak to your child about the following prevention measures:
  • Wash your hands regularly, especially after using the restroom and before preparing or consuming food. Using soap and hot water, wash for about 20 seconds. Be sure to also wash your fingertips and the tops of your hands.
  • Avoid coughing or sneezing into your hands or in the air. Always try to cough or sneeze into a tissue, then throw the tissue away. If you don’t have a tissue, cough/sneeze into your arm. 
  • As much as you can, avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose.
If you have any questions or concerns please visit our website for more information or contact our Health Services Department at 315-435-4145 or healthservices@scsd.us.

Sincerely,

Jaime Alicea
Superintendent of Schools