March 13 COVID-19 Update to School Leaders
The purpose of this correspondence is to make you aware of the newest information and decisions surrounding COVID-19.
It is important to note that to date, our Catholic schools have not received any official notification of a student, staff member, or parent of a student with a confirmed case. However, the situation is extremely fluid and it is important that we remain in regular communication with our local departments of health.
Although there are only a few cases in upstate counties, out of an abundance of caution and under advisement from health experts, the Catholic School Office is offering the following new guidance to consider in consultation with your pastor and/or superintendent to do our part to help combat the spread of the virus:
- 1. Public Events and Activities:
- Postpone or cancel all field trips effective immediately and until further notice.
- Postpone or cancel all large-group events (50 or more people in attendance) effective immediately and until further notice. This includes events like plays, concerts, fundraisers, social gatherings, etc.
- Defer to Section 2 guidance for middle and high school sports. In regards to the other athletic entities, if no central guidance is provided, make decisions utilizing good judgement.
- With the exception of faith formation, limit outside programs from coming into the school unless mission critical.
- In all cases related to other events and public gatherings, we will support decisions to cancel, postpone, or reschedule based on your concerns for the health and safety of your school community.
- 2. Distance Learning and Preparedness:
- All schools should be prepared to close with little to no notice. If your local public school district closes, and you have permission to remain open, a determination will need to be made regarding your school’s ability to operate.
- Any efforts to ensure distance learning should be in place now and ready to communicate to parents if schools are forced to close.
It is important to note that all previous guidance issued by our office and other government agencies remains in effect. In addition, New York has established a COVID-19 Hotline, which can provide additional information. Call 1-888-364-3065 with questions or concerns and continue to work closely with school district staff, department of health personnel, and other officials.
Please know that, as always, the health and safety of our communion of schools is our highest priority, and we will remain vigilant in our efforts to help prevent the spread of this illness. Let us continue to pray and offer our assurances to all those who are anxious and afraid during this time of uncertainty.