Important Information for Birchwood Related to COVID-19

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

This message relates to Birchwood Elementary School and is being distributed broadly to share as much information as possible in light of public health concerns.

Dear Colleagues and Community Members,

Today, we learned that an individual who is connected to Birchwood Elementary School has tested positive for COVID-19. Based upon the details of this situation, Schenectady County Public Health Services has advised that they need to proceed as if every student and staff member in the building was potentially exposed to this virus.

Birchwood families and employees will receive further contact from Public Health, although individual contact may take a few days due to the volume of activity at their offices at this time. In the meantime, Schenectady County Public Health has provided this guidance with the Birchwood community:

  • All Birchwood students and staff members should quarantine at home for 14 days from the last time they were at school – this past Friday for most. For children, their adult caregiver will need to be quarantined as well. Other members of the household who have not been in the building may continue their usual activities as long as they keep six feet of distance from their quarantined family members.
  • Anyone who is displaying symptoms associated with coronavirus (runny nose, sore throat, fever, coughing) should either call their primary care doctor or their local health department (Schenectady County, 518-386-2824 or Albany County, 518-447-4580).
  • Anyone who has urgent health concerns, is unable to meet basic needs due to quarantine, or does not feel that they have a place to complete their quarantine safely, should call their local health department at the numbers above.

In addition to schools being closed for two weeks for students, the district today took steps to close all buildings to faculty and staff until further notice with the exception of limited activity related to business continuity and meeting student needs through food distribution.

We recognize that this message is likely to cause concern in our community. Our public health agencies have been outstanding partners throughout this entire situation. We join them in emphasizing the necessity of sharing information and acting with precaution throughout these extraordinary circumstances.

We will continue to keep you informed to the greatest extent possible.

The most current and accurate information about the coronavirus can be found at www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/coronavirus.

Cosimo Tangorra, Jr., Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools