COVID Update from Dr. Godshall
February 5, 2021
Dear Orleans/Niagara BOCES Community:
The Governor has lifted the “Yellow Zone” micro-cluster designations across New York State and has stated that this does not mean all is “normal”. The schools will continue to follow their safety protocols for staff and students.
The Department of Health (DOH) has made changes to their quarantine guidelines. DOH will ONLY be quarantining individuals who were within 6 feet or less of a contagious COVID-19 person for 10 or more minutes. Hence, per guidelines we will NO LONGER quarantine individuals on the basis that they were in the same room for 60 minutes or more. We have seen a low transmission rate in our schools. The BOCES will be able to maximize in-person educational services to our students with these changes; our buildings will be able to remain staffed to safely operate our schools.
The O/N BOCES continues to monitor rapidly developing information about the COVID-19 vaccination opportunities in our region. However, a shortage of the vaccination usually lists “no appointments available” on designated web sites. I have reached out to other health care providers in an attempt to gain priority access for our staff, to no avail. I have authorized staff to work with their BOCES supervisor, if they gain access to an appointment.
With the scheduled school recesses upcoming, we urge all to avoid increased travel and refrain from relaxing social distancing measures. State requirements for additional post-travel quarantine time must be included in your leave-time planning within the scheduled return dates. Current guidance does not relax any requirements, even if one has receive the vaccination(s). Please plan ahead.
We continue to urge students and staff to help control the spread of COVID-19 by adhering to the following guidelines at all times:
○ Wear masks
○ Remain socially distant whenever possible
○ When interacting with individuals who are not part of your household, wear a mask
and stay six feet apart
○ Be cognizant of your surroundings when not in a controlled environment like
○ Avoid large gatherings, especially inside a home or other enclosure
○ If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, stay home and consult with your health
Our students, faculty and staff continue to diligently follow our health and safety protocols to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Depending on how the pandemic progresses, it is possible that we may need to alternate between in-person and remote learning throughout the remainder of the school year based on recommendations and guidance from our partnering agencies and the Governor’s Executive Orders.
Finally, I would like to thank the O/N BOCES community members. Each time a new announcement, a new surprise or a new challenge comes up, I am in constant awe of how we all, students, teachers, staff and community alike, are able to step up and address the issues together. Thank you.
Dr. Clark Godshall