Message From the Superintendent of Schools – November 20,2020 COVID Update

Dear Freeport Families,

I hope you and your family are safe and healthy. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to create shifts in the way we live our daily lives, I thank you for partnering with Freeport Public Schools in our joint efforts to keep our children, families and community safe. Together, we are Freeport Strong and doing the very best we can to continue provide our students with the best opportunities in safe, caring environments.

As you may be aware, there has been a recent rise in COVID-19 infection rates in Nassau County, across Long Island, and the nation. The number of confirmed positive COVID-19 cases in Freeport Public Schools has been relatively low. It is important to note, that no confirmed case has led to additional cases being reported as a result of attending school. All cases have been contracted from outside our schools. Our data is reported to the NYS New York Forward COVID-19 Report Card. You can view the positive case data for school districts including Freeport Public Schools at the following link: https://schoolcovidreportcard.health.ny.gov/#/searchResults.

The District continues to work diligently to ensure that our schools are as safe as possible for students and staff. We have no control beyond our school buildings. Our highest priority continues to be to provide a safe and healthy learning environment for our students, faculty, and staff. Governor Cuomo, County Executive Laura Curran and the Nassau County Department of Health Commissioner have all stated that the data shows that students are safest when in school.

The Freeport Public Schools Reopening Plan is in compliance with all required COVID-19 guidelines and protocols as determined by the governor’s office, the New York State Education Department, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Nassau County Department of Health (NCDOH). Health protocols including daily temperature checks, wearing face masks with regular mask breaks for students, social distancing, and frequent hand washing are enforced in all schools. Buildings are regularly cleaned and sanitized to ensure a healthy environment.

The State has protocols in place to close communities, including the schools, if the infection rate in a community is considered too high. Governor Cuomo implemented a cluster action initiative to address COVID-19 hot spots as they occur. This approach focuses on addressing these clusters and aims to prevent further community-wide transmission of the virus, and includes new rules and restrictions directly targeted to areas with the highest concentration of COVID-19 cases and surrounding communities. The initiative divides clusters and the areas around them into three categories – the cluster itself (red zone), a warning zone (orange zone), and a precautionary zone (yellow zone).  

For more information on the micro-cluster zones, please follow this link to the State website: https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-details-covid-19-micro-cluster-metrics

At this time, Freeport and our neighboring communities are not considered in any of these zones. Based on the metrics, if such a designation were to occur in the days to come, the District will take necessary and appropriate action. We will keep you informed.

COVID-19 Communication Protocols:

In the event a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, the following protocols and communication procedures are implemented:

• Once the school district has been informed of a confirmed positive COVID-19 case the district’s reporting and notification team take action. Several procedures occur simultaneously including case confirmation and contact tracing.

• The person, who tested positive, or a family member in the case of a student, is contacted by the district and asked a series of questions to begin the contact tracing process. This information is shared with the NCDOH to assist them with contact tracing.

• The school district reports all confirmed COVID-19 cases to the Nassau Department of Health and follow their recommendations.

• Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 must remain out of school and quarantined for 10 days and must present a negative COVID-19 test result to the school district before returning to school.

• Based upon the facts, and in consultation with the NCDOH, a decision is made by district administration regarding whether or not a school will remain open or temporarily transition to remote learning.  Appropriate building cleaning protocols are also determined.

• Out of an abundance of caution, if it is deemed necessary to do a precautionary quarantine for any students or staff, the families and staff are notified and the quarantine if for 14 days.

• The district closely monitors the situation until the case has been resolved and the student and/or staff member presents a negative COVID-19 test result and returns to school.

Freeport Public Schools provides communication regarding a COVID-19 related case on a case-by-case basis that directly involves students, staff, or school buildings Necessary communications, as determined by the NCDOH, will be conducted on an individual basis and will be initiated upon receipt of a positive COVID-19 result with no communication necessary or taken for suspected cases.

• It is important to remember that every case is different. The protocols implemented for each case follow the NCDOH guidelines on a case-by-case basis.

• Those students and/or staff who are determined to be directly impacted by the positive COVID-19 case are personally contacted regarding quarantine requirements and NCDOH recommended next steps.

• Families of students in the school where the positive COVID-19 case is reported are contacted by email followed by a letter.

We all care for the well-being of our students. The upcoming holidays and breaks are a concern for us. Please help us in keeping our schools open for in-person learning. Kindly assist us in preventing the spread of COVID19 in our schools by practicing self-care and following the protocols of M-S-W: Wear Masks, Social Distance, and Wash your hands. If your child has a fever or shows any symptoms of COVID, please do not send your child to school. If you or your child has traveled, it is vital to follow the travel quarantine protocols and do not send your child to school. If any member of your family is positive for COVID, your child must quarantine for 14 days and cannot be in school. By working together, we can prevent COVID from spreading.

If you have any questions, regarding the COVID-19 health and safety protocols implemented in Freeport Public Schools or has any questions regarding the district’s communication procedures please contact your school building principal. Please be safe and be healthy.

Sincerely,

Dr. Kishore Kuncham

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Dear Freeport Families,

It seems like we were just planning to begin the school year and here we are in November 2020. The air is crisp, the fallen leaves crunch under our feet, and the world has become filled with the vibrant colors of the season. Our thoughts turn to family gatherings and Thanksgiving.  As with everything else this year, Thanksgiving comes with the disclaimer that it won’t be the same holiday as usual. There will be an adjustment because of COVID, and many of us will opt to Zoom with friends and family rather than risk the usual get together. We have become masters of the virtual event which has been a saving grace although not quite as fulfilling as the real thing. Yet, the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday is still real. We are grateful for the people and blessings in our lives. Despite the pandemic that has sadly impacted lives globally and economic and racial tensions that have pulled at the fabric of our society, there is still good in our lives and much to appreciate. There is much we have learned and gained during these difficult times that will move us forward in the years to come.

Focusing on the good things in our lives is an uplifting, positive experience that is important for our well-being. It leads to optimism and happiness. I am grateful for the efforts of our staff, students and families to make it possible for us to reopen our schools and bring more students back in person. It has been a complex undertaking that has required the commitment of everyone working together. We did not get here alone. I appreciate the team spirit, the kindnesses shared from our community, and the willingness to adapt in order to provide the best and safest opportunities for our students.

I hope you have a peaceful and joyous Thanksgiving break. However you are celebrating this Thanksgiving, I hope you relax, enjoy and are together, live or virtually, with your loved ones. Please be safe and follow the protocols to remain healthy. We are here for each other and remain Freeport Strong together. Wishing you and your families a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Sincerely,

Dr. Kishore Kuncham