MMCSD Continuing with Remote Instruction until January 22nd
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a crippling impact on our ability to maintain adequate staffing levels across the district. We still have a large number of instructional staff, support staff, bus drivers, and students assigned to 10-day quarantines. At this time, we do not have enough bus drivers available to transport our students next week. In addition, the continued rise in cases within the Mount Markham community cannot be overlooked.
The infection rate in Herkimer county is still very high, but seems to be trending downward. The highest infection rate we had in Herkimer county was 14.8% on January 7th. This may have been our peak- we are now on a 6-day decline for the first time in 2 months (for the 7-day average- please refer to the attached graphs). Though these numbers appear to be trending in the right direction, they are not statistically significant enough to say that we are out of the woods. Yesterday’s daily infection rate was still at 8.5% with a 7-day average was 11.5%. We have 44 students/staff out on quarantine just at the high school. Schools that have attempted to reopen this week have been struggling. BOCES is a prime example-- in less than a week, 2/3 of the student population was placed into quarantine due to exposure.
After careful consideration, the Mount Markham Central School District will continue utilizing remote instruction on January 19th through January 22nd. We will make every effort to reopen for in-person and hybrid instruction on Monday, January 25th. As a reminder, school will be closed on Monday, January 18th (MLK), there will be no remote instruction. Meal deliveries will continue next week. The final decision regarding reopening on Monday, January 25th will be communicated on Thursday, January 21st.
Herkimer BOCES Remote Instruction
Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES was notified in the evening of Tuesday, January 12, of two confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 affecting Career and Technical Education programs at the William E. Busacker Complex in East Herkimer. Contact tracing revealed that more than two-thirds of CTE students would have to remain out of school for the next 10 days, so all CTE programs are switching to virtual instruction immediately, effective Wednesday, January 13 through Sunday, January 24, with a return to in-person instruction on Monday, January 25.
To view the full press release, please click the link below.
Link: Please Click Here
Board of Education Meeting Notice
Due to rising COVID-19 positivity rates, and out of an abundance of caution for our staff and community, the Board of Education meeting scheduled for January 12, will be held virtually. Tonight's meeting will still be available to view through a livestream link on YouTube. Additional information is below. Please send any public comments to email@example.com.
Date: January 12, 2021 Time: 7:00pm Location: Virtual
YouTube Link: https://youtu.be/Mn9vdB9FiTI
COVID-19 Testing Procedures and Overview
As you are aware, the New York State Cluster Action Initiative states that schools must test 20% to 30% of in-person students and staff over a specified period of time immediately following the announcement of a color zone designation if they wish to remain open for in-person instruction. If the results of the testing reveal that the positivity rate among the 20% to 30% tested is lower than the color zone’s current 7-day positivity rate, testing at that school will no longer be required to continue. However, if the results of the testing reveal that the positivity rate among in-person students and staff is higher than the color zone’s current 7-day positivity rate, the school will be required to continue to test 20% to 30% of the in-person population. If we are unable to test a random sample of 20% to 30% of our student and staff populations while in a color zone, then we will be forced to continue with remote instruction. Please refer to the table below for color zone testing details.
To read the full release, please click here
Food Delivery Service Schedule
Mount Markham has collaborated with the OHM BOCES Food Service to begin community distribution of bagged lunch and breakfast items. Mount Markham will be providing a FREE lunch and breakfast to any child 18 and under at the following locations. Food will be distributed daily from 11:00 am to 12:00 pm whenever the school is closed for in-person instruction and engaged in full remote instruction.
We will also have a school bus at the following Bridgewater locations to distribute meals from 11:00 am -12:00 pm (Times are approximate).
If you are in need of meals during our closure and cannot get to a site, please contact your school office. We will arrange for them to be delivered. Please allow 24 hours for delivery to begin.
Elementary Main Office: 315-822-2840
Middle School Main Office: 315-822-2870
High School Main Office: 315-822-2900
MMCSD Shifting to Remote Instruction: 12/9-12/22
After careful consideration, the Mount Markham Central School District has decided to shift to remote instruction starting Wednesday, December 9th through Tuesday, December 22nd. The health and safety of our students, staff, and the community continues to be our number one priority. During these challenging times, it is important to exercise prudence and do everything we can to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the physical safety of all individuals.
The decision to close was a data driven decision and based upon current trends. Our overall data for the first 13 weeks of school was very encouraging. We only had one positive case of COVID-19 impacting one cohort of students during this timeframe. However, our current data trends have drastically changed that narrative. In less than a week, the number of students and staff members out with symptoms has grown exponentially. Yesterday alone, 14 staff members and 14 students were forced into a mandatory 14-day quarantine. As of this afternoon, 3 of these 14 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 and we anticipate this number to rise. Every additional staff member or student that comes back positive has the potential to impact a different cohort of individuals. As you can imagine, the number of cases can compound over a very short period of time. This morning, we received notification that another staff member and student tested positive for COVID-19. This put an additional 6 teachers, 2 staff members, and nearly an entire grade level of students into quarantine. In total, we have lost 27 teachers or staff members over a 3-day period (Friday to Tuesday). Today alone, we had a total of 39 students across the district fail the daily attestation with suspected symptoms.
We share the same goal with our community and want to remain open for as long as possible; however, continuing in-person instruction under these conditions and ignoring the recent data trend would be irresponsible. We value the social, emotional, and educational needs of our students and will work hard to maintain these values during this difficult time. We plan to return to in-person and hybrid instruction on Monday, January 4th.
All BOCES programs, including Pathways and CTE, will remain open. Transportation will continue tomorrow morning; however, arrival and departure times may be different. The transportation department will communicate these changes with each applicable family.
We will immediately start delivering meals to any family in need. As you are aware, breakfast and lunch are free for all students. We will utilize a combination of centralized pick up locations and home deliveries. Please reach out to your building principal if you would like to receive these daily meals.
ParentSquare Health Screening
In order to comply with the NYSDOH, NYSED, and CDC guidelines, all staff and parents will complete a daily health screening. All families need to log into the ParentSquare website or download the ParentSquare app to successfully complete the daily health screening. Here are directions on how to access the Health Screening Form in ParentSquare.
In Memory of Coach Engle
The Mount Markham Central School District is deeply saddened to learn of long-time educator and coach Charlie Engle's recent passing. Coach, along with his wife Judy, dedicated decades as educators to the youth and community of Mount Markham. Coach Engle retired from a 48 year coaching career in 2016 with 654 wins, 13 Section Championships, and 4 trips to the State Final Four. Coach retired with the most wins in New York State HIstory, and in 2018 was elected to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame. These accomplishments pale in comparison to the man he was and continued to be right up until his passing. A man who turned boys into men. Our heartfelt love and sympathies go out to all of Coach's family. Mount Markham is mourning today.
Free Meals for K-12 Students!
We’re happy to share that the USDA and New York State Education Department have approved free breakfast/lunch meals for students 18 and under, through the end of June 2021. Specific to Mount Markham, the Food Service Department will be working with the High School, to accommodate students needing ‘To-Go’ bags on their virtual learning days.
Please note that we’ll still be asking families to fill out the Free/Reduced application. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions.