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Cold Spring shifts to remote learning after fears of COVID

PINE PLAINS — Taking proactive action to protect students, staff and community members against the spread of the coronavirus, the Pine Plains Central School District transitioned Cold Spring Early Learning Center students from the hybrid learning to full remote learning following a report of a presumed positive COVID-19 case on Monday, Jan. 18.

Though their identification can’t be disclosed due to federal health privacy laws, Superintendent of Schools Martin Handler announced in his letter to Pine Plains staff, parents and community members last Monday that it was a staff member at Cold Spring who was presumed positive for COVID-19 and that they were last present in the district on Friday, Jan. 15. 

Meanwhile, Director of Curriculum and Instruction Brian Timm said Cold Spring Principal Gian Starr brought the case to the district’s attention on the morning of Jan. 18.

In addition to reviewing the case with the Dutchess County Department of Behavioral and Community Health, Timm said the district consulted the Dutchess County Department of Health (DOH), which said the district should presume the staff member to be positive and provided it with guidance for going through the process of contact tracing.

“We’re still in the process of doing that, but there’s a decent number of students and staff,” Timm said last week, “so right now, we’re continuing to do all the contact tracing that is necessary and obviously we will be doing a thorough cleaning of those rooms that the individual had been in.”

As included in his letter, Handler said all students and staff at the Cold Spring building, which is located in the adjacent hamlet of Stanfordville in the town of Stanford, who were in contact with the staff member will be notified, adding that if they’re not contacted by the school to quarantine, it won’t be necessary for them to do so. 

However, due to staffing issues as a result of the need to quarantine, he said Cold Spring will move to a full-remote learning model as of Tuesday, Jan. 19, through Friday, Jan. 29, with a tentative return to in-person learning scheduled for Monday, Feb. 1. 

This tentative return to the in-person learning model also applies to the students and staff at Seymour Smith Intermediate Learning Center and Stissing Mountain Junior/Senior High School, both of which are located in the town of Pine Plains.

“Hopefully there will not be any additional staffing issues that will prevent us from going into hybrid,” Timm said.

When asked if he thought the district was well prepared to take those steps toward shifting to full remote, Timm remarked, “I do think so.”

Handler was unable to comment beyond the information that was already issued in the public letter to Pine Plains families and staff. In the meantime, he reminded the district via his letter that any staff members and students who show any symptoms of COVID-19 should stay home and notify the school district if anyone in their household tests positive for the coronavirus.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), COVID can present a “wide range of symptoms…  ranging from mild to severe illness that can appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus.” 

COVID-19 symptoms

• Fever or chills

• Cough

• Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

• Fatigue

• Muscle or body aches

• Headache

• New loss of taste or smell

• Sore throat

• Congestion or runny nose

• Nausea or vomiting

• Diarrhea

For more information on the coronavirus, go to www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.

For more information on the possible outbreak in the Pine Plains Central School District, go to www.ppcsd.org or call 518-398-7181.

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