Westmere Elementary has first COVID-19 case, FMS has a fourth case

Westmere Elementary School

The Enterprise — Michael Koff
Making a grand entrance: A student with a sparkling pink skirt and matching hair bow is helped into her backpack as she prepares to enter Westmere Elementary School this past September. 

GUILDERLAND — A fourth and fifth case of COVID-19 within a week were announced on Monday by the Guilderland Central School District.

This makes 20 cases for the district so far this school year.

One of the positive tests is the first case for Westmere Elementary School.

“All individuals have been contacted and advised on the need to quarantine. In-person instruction has continued as planned,” wrote Superintendent Marie Wiles of Westmere in an email to GCSD families on Monday evening.

The other new case is at Farnsworth Middle School. Farnsworth has had three cases announced previously this school year.

“Based on preliminary information from the Albany County Department of Health, no other individuals from FMS need to quarantine at this time,” wrote Wiles.

In a press conference on Friday morning, Albany County’s health commissioner, Elizabeth Whalen, urged parents, “Work with your kids.” Parents need to reinforce for their children the importance of keeping a distance, not gathering in groups, hand-washing, and mask-wearing.

“It’s not an easy time for kids,” said Whalen.

As Albany County, like the rest of the nation, is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases, Whalen said earlier that about 15 percent of the county’s COVID-19 cases in the last two months had come from students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

Whalen urged parents to keep their children home when they are sick and to get them tested. 

This month, Albany County launched two testing sites — one of them in Voorheesville — where students with symptoms like coughing and running a fever, who are therefore excluded from classes, can get tested for COVID-19. Appointments are coordinated through school nurses.

The state’s COVID-19 Report Card, as of Monday evening, had not yet listed the new cases at Farnsworth Middle School or Westmere Elementary nor did it list the case at Lynnwood announced on Nov. 27 or the cases announced Saturday, Nov. 28, at Farnsworth and Guilderland Elementary.

The case at Guilderland Elementary School created a staffing shortage, Wiles said, so kindergartners through fourth-graders at that elementary school are learning remotely, starting today, Nov. 30. In-person classes at Guilderland Elementary are set to resume on Wednesday, Dec. 9, Wiles said.

The district’s earlier cases included two students at Altamont Elementary School — those cases were in September — as well as one student at Lynnwood, three cases at Farnsworth Middle School of one student and two teachers, and nine cases at the high school of six students and three staff members.

In addition to its middle school and high school, Guilderland has five elementary schools: Altamont, Guilderland, Pine Bush, Lynnwood, and Westmere. Only Pine Bush Elementary remains untouched by coronavirus disease 2019.

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