COVID-19 update for return to school after holiday break

  • The following letter was sent to General Brown families via ParentSquare email on December 30, 2021:

    Dear General Brown Community,

    I hope this message finds you well and that you have had time to relax and enjoy time with family. Such time is so very valuable, especially given the responsibilities and challenges we face in our daily lives as of late.

    As with many things over the past 21-plus months, there are as many questions as answers. The media is sometimes out in front of actual decisions (local and state), creating some confusion for those of us left to implement any shifts in practice. Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding as we navigate any changes that may be considered. In case you are wondering about our response to recent COVID-related announcements, here is what we know about COVID guidelines at the moment:

    • With regional COVID numbers still relatively manageable, together with the renewed emphasis on in-person instruction, we are scheduled to resume school on Monday, Jan 3, 2022, without any significant changes in our daily operations.
    • At-home COVID test kits for students will be delivered to each school district by BOCES soon. We will work quickly to distribute the tests to all students for at-home use. The exact timing and details have not yet been finalized. Buildings will announce particular details prior to distributing the tests.
    • At-home testing is voluntary and meant to simply add an additional layer of protection in the event symptoms are present, or if families simply want peace-of-mind after holiday gatherings. At-home testing will NOT be used as a requirement for entry into school. The idea is that with better testing access, individuals will be able to test sooner and potentially minimize chances for COVID spread in the community. Exact mechanisms for voluntary reporting, replacement test(s), and more will be determined by Jefferson County Public Health and shared when available.
    • General Brown Central School District will continue to emphasize masking, social distancing, at-home screening for symptoms, hygiene practices, and more to limit school spread.
    • Despite the announcement of changes to the CDC recommendations for quarantine practices, it should be noted that any shifts in quarantine protocols (based on potential exposure to a positive close contact), including the potential for a 'Test-to-Stay' program, will be determined by Jefferson County Public Health. We have no additional details at this time related to any changes, but we expect some clarification soon.
    • We will continue business as usual until we receive any additional mandates and/or clarification from NYSDOH, NYSED, and Jefferson County Public Health. We will continue to ride these waves of uncertainty, but we are committed to support the children, families, our employees, and the community while focusing on their safety, as well. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or for clarifications.

    Enjoy the remainder of the holiday break with your families. Our society has definitely earned this valuable down time!

    Barbara J. Case
    Superintendent of Schools