Albany schools shifting to distance learning due to COVID-19 surge

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – On Wednesday, the City School District of Albany schools will shift to distance learning through the end of next week due to the significant increase in COVID-19 cases since the holiday break. At this time, the district is planning a phased re-entry for students beginning January 18. All schools will send students home with Chromebooks and chargers for instructional learning via Google Classroom.

According to officials, the district has reported 266 new positive cases from December 23, the first day of the holiday break, through Tuesday, January 5. On average, they say nearly 21 new cases per day over that period of time were the highly contagious Omicron variant.

Due to the impact of this dramatic surge on district staffing levels, and to help slow the spread of the disease within schools in the community, the district will shift to distance learning until after the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. District officials will continue to evaluate health and safety considerations while students are engaged in distance learning, and will have more information next week about their plans and timeline for a return to in-person instruction.

All schools will continue to distribute COVID-19 test kits Thursday and Friday of this week in alignment with the schedules already in place. For further information, please visit your school’s page. Parents and guardians are asked to report all positive test results to the Albany County Health Department.

The district will conduct in-person COVID-19 saliva swab testing for all students and employees. Beginning Friday, COVID-19 testing will be conducted from 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m, daily at each of these locations through Friday, January 14. Pre-registration is required.

  • Albany High School, 700 Washington Ave.
  • Giffen Memorial Elementary School, 274 South Pearl St.
  • Harriet Gibbons Student Services Center, 75 Watervliet Ave.
  • Tony Clement Center for Education, 395 Elk St.
  • William S. Hackett Middle School, 45 Delaware Ave.

Meal pickup will also be available at each school on the following schedule while students are engaged in distance learning. District officials said you can pick up meals at the school closest to your home and do not need to pick them up at the school your child attends. 

Thursday, January 6

  • 10 a.m.-noon at all schools
  • Tony Clement Center for Education and Albany High School’s Abrookin Career and Technical Center will not offer pickup; families can pick up at any other district school

Friday, January 7

  • 10 a.m.-noon at all schools
  •  Clement and Abrookin families can pick up at any other district school

Monday, January 10

  • Elementary only (not including Edmund J. O’Neal School of Excellence)
  • Meals for two days will be available from 9-11 a.m.

Tuesday, January 11

  • Middle and high schools only (including all programs at O’Neal; Clement and Abrookin families can pick up at any other district school)
  • Meals for five days will be available from 9-11 a.m.

Wednesday, January 12

  • Elementary only (not including O’Neal)
  • Meals for three days will be available from 9-11 a.m.

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