Dear Blue Waves Families,
Please be advised that due to a recent and rapid rise in certain respiratory virus cases—including influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and Covid-19—the New York State Education Department and Department of Health are recommending increased health precautions in schools this winter.
According to a joint statement by Education Commissioner Betty Rosa and Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett, the number of laboratory-confirmed flu cases has nearly tripled over the past three weeks and flu hospitalizations have more than doubled. “In addition, Covid-19 continues to pose a significant threat, particularly for unvaccinated or under-vaccinated New Yorkers, as the virus remains one of the leading causes of death in the United States,” the officials said.
The agencies also note that RSV has been spreading. It can be serious if contracted by infants and some older adults, and has been putting a strain on the state’s pediatric hospital units. The following are precautions recommended by both agency commissioners. It is important to note that these are not mandated in any way, including the recommendation to wear masks in indoor public spaces.
1. Staying up-to-date on vaccines, including flu and Covid-19.
2. Washing your hands often with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds.
3. Not coughing or sneezing into your hands; sneeze or cough into your elbow.
4. Staying home when sick or symptomatic.
5. Wearing a well-fitting, high-quality mask when in public indoor spaces.
As always, the health and safety of our students and families are of utmost importance. We encourage you to incorporate as many of these recommendations that you feel comfortable with into your daily routine this winter.
Dr. Augustine E. Tornatore
Superintendent of Schools