GCSD reports nine new COVID cases for a total of 64

Enterprise file photo — Melissa Hale-Spencer

Budget-building for the Guilderland schools typically moves like a well-oiled machine, overseen by Superintendent Marie Wiles, left, and Assistant Superintendent for Business Neil Sanders. This year, everything from state aid to school schedules has been upended by the pandemic. 

The Guilderland school superintendent, Marie Wiles, sent an email Monday afternoon, updating families on nine new COVID-19 cases within the district since Tuesday, Dec. 22, after which schools went on vacation.

Three of the new cases are at Guilderland High School, and two each are at Farnsworth Middle School, Lynnwood Elementary School, and Pine Bush Elementary School.

Three of the nine cases required contact tracing: one at Guilderland High School, and one each at Lynnwood and Pine Bush elementary schools.

This brings the district’s total of COVID-19 cases to 64 so far this school year.

The state’s COVID-19 Report Card stopped tracking cases on Dec. 22 when Guilderland had 55 cases. “While on the holiday recess, schools are not able to report new cases to the NYS COVID-19 Dashboard,” Wiles wrote.

The new Guilderland tallies are: 37 at the high school, 11 at the middle school, seven at Lynnwood Elementary School, three at Altamont Elementary School, three at Pine Bush Elementary School, two at Guilderland Elementary School, and one at Westmere Elementary School.

“If we learn of more cases for the remainder of the break, we will send an update on Jan. 4,” Wiles wrote in her email. “If contact tracing is required as a result of any new cases, we will contact those individuals directly.”

She also urged diligence in following health and safety protocols outside of school.


Planning ahead

The school district continues to plan for the eventuality that the area will be declared a micro-cluster zone, Wiles wrote in an email sent just before the holiday break.

“Our goal is to continue to offer in-person instruction as long as it is safe to do so,” Wiles said. “All zone designations require schools to test their in-person population in order to stay open.”

Employees and families of students are being asked if they would participate in random testing for COVID-19. So far, Wiles reported, about 75 percent have said they would.

She asked those who had not yet responded to please do so.

“We will continue to send reminders to ask for your participation in this test which is minimally invasive, and reliable,” Wiles said.

Also, the district will be hosting an online panel presentation and discussion on Jan. 13 at 7 p.m. for which residents may submit questions ahead of the event.

Topics to be discussed include COVID-19 testing in the schools; plans for the second semester, which begins Feb.1; and budgeting for the 2021-22 school year.


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