ROTTERDAM – Mohonasen Central School District made it one day into the district’s reopening plan before a positive COVID-19 case sent officials scrambling to change those plans.
District officials on Thursday shifted all students to virtual learning through at least Sept. 17 after announcing much of the district’s administrative team was quarantining after an adult working at the high school tested positive for COVID-19.
The infected individual joined “nearly the entire district administrative team” at a luncheon in recent days. Working with the Schenectady County Health Department, district officials decided the administrators needed to quarantine until 14 days after the point of contact.
Mohonasen Superintendent Shannon Shine in a Thursday message to families announced the district is going all virtual for students at all grade levels “until it is safe to return to a mix of in-person, hybrid and remote learning.”
The all-remote learning is expected to start Monday and continue through at least Thursday, Shine wrote. The district will be closed Friday to allow for further contact tracing, Shine wrote, and a deep clean of buildings.
The positive test came after nearly the entire district administrative team was at a lunch with the infected individual during one of the district’s professional development days prior to reopening school, Shine said in the message.
“All administrators except one were fully socially distanced during this luncheon; however, the Schenectady DOH, after consulting with the NYS Department of Health, has determined out of an abundance of caution that the entire group must quarantine for up to 14 days from the point of contact,” Shine wrote.
The quarantine will take the district through Thursday, though officials do not yet know when the district would be cleared to reopen for in-person instruction.
A small number of teachers also were potentially exposed and must quarantine for 14 days from the point of contact, Shine wrote.
“The Department of Health needs time to fully conduct the required contact tracing to ensure all students, staff and faculty remain safe,” Shine wrote.
“Our intention is to resume on-site learning, according to our collaboratively-developed Reopening Plan, as soon as it is safe to do so,” Shine added.
The district will relay further information as it becomes available, he wrote.
“I was elated to see our students enter each of our buildings this morning so I am crestfallen to deliver this news to our families; however, safety will always be our number one priority at Mohonasen,” Shine concluded, “and I am committed to having our students return to in-person learning as soon as it is safe to do so.”
The Mohonasen letter also came on the same day as the University at Albany reported a “very concerning spike” in COVID-19 cases among students, including 31 cases reported to the Albany County Health Department within 24 hours.
The college on Thursday night reported 40 total cases among students. The college said clusters were identified within the athletics program and in off-campus student housing; 30 of the cases were among students living off campus, according to the college’s dashboard.
In a message posted Thursday evening, the college said the rise in cases could lead to a suspension of all in-person classes and activities if not arrested soon.