The Storm King School has been actively monitoring developments related to the novel coronavirus - COVID-19 since reports of the outbreak first surfaced in China. As we await the return of our students early next week, we would like to take this opportunity to share our thoughts on the prevention, detection, and treatment of the virus and to indicate what the School is doing to prepare.
Several parents and students have contacted us with their concerns about returning to school after the holiday. First and foremost, I want to reassure our community that our campus remains a safe and healthy place as we continue to monitor the virus’ progress in New York State and the rest of the country very closely. At this time, the School’s normal academic schedule will resume on Tuesday, March 17, as planned.
As of Monday, March 9, according to the New York State Department of Health, there are 142 positive cases of COVID-19 in New York State, the majority of those being across the river in Westchester County and 19 of those cases in New York City. Orange County has no confirmed cases yet as of today.
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), at this moment, the most important step that can be taken by our campus community is to remain focused on prevention. Therefore, we will insist that students, faculty, and staff adhere to the following recommendations:
- Frequent and prolonged hand washing with soap and hot water.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe, hand sanitizer, or isopropyl alcohol.
Other related steps will include following more appropriate ways of greeting (in place of handshakes or hugs, perhaps a fist bump or nod; airing out dorm rooms and classrooms when the weather is warm, and others.
PLAN TO OPEN CAMPUS NEXT WEEK
Along with enhancing awareness and promoting diligent hygiene as a preventative measure, the School is cooperating with area organizations, including the New York State and the Orange County Department of Health, to prepare for a variety of scenarios moving forward after school opens next week.
1. Each student will receive a brief, individual health screening when they arrive back on campus next week and before being permitted to enter the dormitories. Details regarding check-in and screening will be communicated to students and families later this week.
2. Athletic games will be suspended for at least two weeks to give the School the opportunity to evaluate the situation as well as the health protocols of other schools involved. Postponements will continue in two-week increments as needed until the situation is resolved or the School deems such interactions are safe. Weekend activities, trips, and other events will also be curtailed and any changes to the weekend sign-out procedure deemed necessary will be communicated in the coming days.
3. In the event we have one or more students test positively for COVID-19, a dedicated location to house students who may require quarantine is being established on campus and will be ready for use if necessary when our students arrive next week.
4. The School is also working diligently throughout the break to deep-clean and disinfect the rest of campus as a precautionary measure.
5. To prepare for any possible disruption to our normal academic schedule in the coming weeks, the School is currently working to complete online and other remote options that would allow students to finish the academic year. Details of these online learning options will be communicated in the coming days as necessary.
As this rapidly-changing situation continues to develop, please be assured that we will continue to monitor it closely with the health and safety of all of our students, faculty, and staff as our first priority. Thank you once again for your continued support and I will continue to update you with further details of the School’s plans in the coming days.
If you have any thoughts, concerns or ideas, please do not hesitate to contact the School. Of course, we are treating this situation with the utmost seriousness and the best way we will get through it is if we work the problems presented to us together. Thank you.