Middletown Superintendent of Schools Richard Del Moro has been communicating with the school district regularly since the beginning of the Coronavirus crisis, and throughout the 2020-21 school year:
On Wednesday, January 13, Superintendent Del Moro addressed the Middletown schools community, hosting a virtual Town Hall meeting. His purpose was to provide an update on in-person instruction, which will begin Tuesday, January 19, as well as relevant COVID-19 testing information for our three schools within Gov. Cuomo’s Yellow Zone.
Here are highlights from Superintendent Del Moro’s meeting:
While we have made significant strides in our remote learning model, nothing replaces the value of connections made within the classroom between students and educators and students to students within an in-person classroom setting. So those students registered in the hybrid model will return to in-person instruction, beginning next week.
Cohort 1 returns for in-person instruction on Tuesday, January 19, and will continue in-person learning on Monday and Tuesday of each subsequent week. Cohort 1 will learn remotely each Wednesday and Thursday.
Cohort 2 returns for in-person instruction on Wednesday, January 20, and will continue in-person learning on Wednesday and Thursday of each subsequent week. Cohort 2 will learn remotely each Monday and Tuesday.
Cohort 1 and 2 will have a remote instruction day each Friday.
Please note, we will continue to:
- transport students to school with reduced capacity (buses)
- take temperatures of all students and staff upon arrival
- require all educators and staff on campus to complete a self screen prior to arrival
- encourage families to complete the self screen at home - support our families and ask them to not send their young people to school if they are not feeling well/exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 - now, more than ever - let’s practice - it’s better to be safe than sorry
- practice social distancing
- regularly cleaning within buildings
- universal face covering
- regularly hand washing/use of sanitizer
Twin Towers Middle School, Presidential Park Elementary School and the Maple Hill Annex at Truman Moon are within the Yellow Zone. Per Gov. Cuomo, Yellow Zone schools must test 20 percent of in-person students, faculty and staff over the two-week period immediately following the announcement of a Yellow Zone designation. If a school in a Yellow Zone does not meet the 20 percent testing requirement, it will no longer be allowed to offer in-person instruction.
No testing could be implemented during the holiday pause (Nov. 30-Jan. 15) because no students were on campus. Testing will begin during the January 19 week, as our students will have returned for in-person instruction.
When testing in a Yellow Zone, if the results of the testing reveal the positivity rate among the 20 percent of those tested is lower than the Yellow Zone’s current seven-day positivity rate, testing at that school will no longer be required to continue. We would “test out” of the Yellow Zone because this data would indicate the positivity rate in a school is lower than in the Yellow Zone. Therefore, this data is a sufficient demonstration in-person instruction is not a significant driver of local viral spread.
In partnership with the Orange County Department of Health and Horizon Family Medical, we have developed a plan so we are prepared to test the requisite number of students, educators, and staff and implement this COVID-19 testing mandate in a timely manner.
The district administered a survey to educators, staff and families regarding their willingness to volunteer to test. A letter and consent form was mailed out to every family with a student planning to return for in-person instruction at Twin Towers Middle School, Presidential Park Elementary School, and the Annex at Truman Moon. We are eagerly awaiting the return of the consent form from families. We have not yet received enough consent forms returned to reach our required number of tests. Please review the materials you received, consider granting consent to have your student COVID-19 tested.
Middletown is conducting COVID-19 testing in these three school sites as part of the NYS Cluster Action Initiative mandate. This testing will allow us to quickly identify asymptomatic students and staff who are positive, and begin the isolation process for these individuals. It will also allow students and staff within close contact to immediately return home, as they will be subject to quarantine orders by the local health department.
Medical staff from Horizon Medical will be conducting all sample collection and reagent processing. All testing will be done by Horizon Family Medical staff. Middletown will utilize the Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 antigen test, which uses samples from the front of the nose to detect proteins present in COVID-19.
Test samples are collected by using a long Q tip-type collection tool in the front/bottom of the nose - it swirls five times in each nostril - and takes about five seconds in each nostril to collect the sample. Students will be monitored by trained staff throughout the entire process, and our health office staff will be present to support our students.
The COVID-19 tests are being provided by the New York State Department of Health at no cost to the District. No one will be charged ANY fees associated with the on campus COVID-19 testing.
- Families, who have given consent, contacted the day prior to the testing event
- Students arrive at school as they traditionally would - go to their homeroom/1st period class.
- Just prior to the student appointment time, school health office staff will go to the classroom to meet the student
- Student is escorted to the testing location by school health office staff
- Test is administered - actual administration of the test is quick - it will likely take longer for the student to get to and from the testing site than the actual administration of the COVID-19 test itself.
We will ONLY be calling families regarding test results of POSITIVE students - IF a student tests positive the family will be contacted as soon as practicable, but no later than the end of the day (please note - I’m not referring to the school day, I am referring to the work day). All positive BinaxNOW results will require follow-up PCR testing to confirm that positive. PCR testing for COVID-19 is the “gold standard” of testing, as this form of testing is both highly sensitive and specific. This is the only test that can provide a fully-recognized positive. Results from PCR tests are reported to the Orange County Health Department and the New York State Department of Health.
Here are Superintendent Del Moro's community message from throughout the pandemic:
November 18 Letter From Superintendent: English Version
Lea el mensaje del Superintendente Del Moro que les da a las familias la opción de elegir cómo sus estudiantes pueden aprender (9 de octubre)Lea el mensaje del Superintendente Del Moro sobre el proceso de retorno escolar del 5 de octubre del distrito (1 de octubre de 2020)
Read Superintendent Del Moro's message about the district's Oct. 5 in school return process (Oct. 1, 2020)
Other messages from Superintendent Del Moro:
On July 30, he held a Zoom meeting with our school community. Watch the video.
Lea el mensaje del Superintendente Del Moro sobre la orientación del Departamento de Educación del Estado de Nueva York para que las escuelas reabran en el otoño de 2020
Read Superintendent Del Moro's message about academics during the closure (March 13, 2020)
Read Superintendent Del Moro's message about the initial school closing (March 13, 2020)
Read Superintendent Del Moro's message to the Middletown schools community (March 16, 2020)
Read Superintendent Del Moro's message about an infected visitor in Middletown High School (March 15, 2020)
Lea el mensaje del Superintendente Del Moro a la comunidad escolar de Middletown (29 de mayo de 2020)