Ichabod Crane School District closes schools to in-person learning

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VALATIE, N.Y. (NEWS10)—All schools in the Ichabod Crane Central School District closed to in-person learning on Monday. A case of COVID-19 was found at the primary school the district reported.

After working with the Columbia County Department of Health (DOH) to conduct a contact tracing investigation, it was determined to close one classroom in the Primary School and quarantine the students and staff for the full 14-day period. Students, staff, and families were contacted by the district and will do full remote learning with their teacher. The class will return on Friday, November 6, after the two weeks.

“I don’t think this is going away any time soon and i think there could be more situations like this,” said parent Nicole Mcarthur.

Mcarthur is a parent of two students at the primary school. She’s also the president of the parent teacher association.

“I think the more that it occurs, the more that we’ll be able to adapt to it,” Mcarthur said.

DOH determined since it was an isolated case, the Primary School can open for in-person learning on Tuesday for all students and staff, not in quarantine. The district says all classrooms have been cleaned and disinfected.

“[The district] is very understanding of the fact that there are not that many people that have resources. I don’t think these decisions are easy for a parent, for staff or administration,” Mcarthur said.

Superintendent Suzanne Guntlow said the district is more prepared to handle a closure than they were in March.

“The spring really caught us off guard, so we tried to learn the lessons of the spring and make sure we’re as ready as possible,” Guntlow said.

That includes all students having access to devices and making sure there’s access and connectivity to their classwork. The district anticipates devices for all students this week.

“Once we know that kids are safe, obviously our focus is as well on what we’re here to do, and that’s teaching our students,” Guntlow said.

All students grade 4-12 will remain home for the next two days with full remote learning, returning on Thursday the 29. At this time, the district is waiting for testing results from those who had close contact with the positive case.

“We will not reopen the Middle or High School buildings until we are 100% sure the contact tracing investigation and pending test results are completed.” The district said in an email to family and staff Monday. “Quarantined students and staff will only be allowed to return to the school buildings once their quarantine period is completed and they are cleared by the DOH. Additionally, all buses and building interiors, including classrooms, are currently undergoing a complete deep cleaning/disinfection process.”  

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