From the Superintendent's Desk

Waterford-Halfmoon UFSD

January 6, 2021

Hello to all,

January has arrived and we continue to remain open for in-person, hybrid, and full virtual learning.  The staff, students, parents, and community have been tremendous in their flexibility with supporting the district and all our students as we strive to do the best we can during these challenging times.    

The New York State COVID-19 cases continue to rise and the "peak" for the increased cases due to the Holiday Break is predicted to hit mid-January according to many health experts.       

This increase in COVID-19 cases may place this area and our district into a Yellow, Orange, or Red Zone designation in the near future.  If one of these designations occur, the District will be certain to post information on our website on how this will impact our school and our community.    

Below is information I recently provided to our Waterford-Halfmoon families regarding a "Yellow Zone" designation: 

Dear Waterford-Halfmoon Families,

The governor recently released guidance on the New York Cluster Initiative  to respond to micro-clusters which are outbreaks of new COVID -19 cases.  In this new guidance, districts are assigned a tiered location and each tier has specific criteria to enter a yellow, orange, or red zone. These designations have a direct impact on schools within the zones.

The district has been watching the infection rate closely over the past few weeks and we are preparing for a yellow zone designation. A yellow zone is a precautionary measure to assist in mitigating wider outbreaks of COVID-19. To be designated as a yellow zone, the Waterford-Halfmoon school district’s geographic region’s seven-day infection rate must be 3.0% or higher for 10 consecutive days and the geographic area has 12 or more new daily cases per 100,000 residents on a 7-day average.

In the event that our area does become a Yellow Zone, Department of Health (DOH) guidance will require our district to test 20% of in-person students and staff in order to remain open for in-person instruction.  We understand how important it is for students to be in school, therefore, our testing plan is outlined below.  Our goal remains to stay safely OPEN for the in-person instruction, meal service, social connection and emotional support that our students need.

We are currently contracted to work with Adirondack Health and Wellness to conduct our own COVID-19 testing program within the district.  Testing cannot be performed without parental consent and testing is not mandatory. However, please consider that if we do not have consent to test 20% of students and staff while in a Yellow Zone, we will need to shift to full-remote instruction for all students.  If your child is not participating in in-person or hybrid education, you do NOT need to fill out this form. The Consent Form has been sent to the email address you have on file with the District. The Consent Form can also be accessed here: CONSENT FORM. If you cannot access this form, please contact your child’s principal and they will send you a paper copy. 

If you consent to testing, your child may receive a free diagnostic test for the COVID-19 virus that will be administered by a certified or licensed medical provider (CNA, LPN, or RN). A rapid COVID-19 test will be used, which will involve inserting a small swab, similar to a Q-Tip, into the front of the nose. The swab test that will be used is the less invasive test that only swabs the inside tip of the nose.  If your child is selected for a COVID-19 test you will have the option of having your child tested during the school day or you can choose to accompany your child and have him/her tested after school hours. Again, a date for testing has not yet been selected since we have not been designated as a Yellow Zone.  We will notify you if your child tests positive for COVID-19.  Any students who test positive will be sent home and must be kept at home until meeting the Saratoga County Department of Public Health criteria to return to school.  Please contact your child’s doctor immediately to review the test results should your child test positive for COVID-19.

Again as a reminder, we have NOT BEEN DESIGNATED AS A YELLOW ZONE but want to begin preparing for this so we can be efficient as possible if the situation arises.  

Please stay safe and Happy New Year to all,

Patrick Pomerville

Superintendent of Schools