A March 12 message from Superintendent Brian Monahan: All large, district afterschool social events postponed or canceled for 14 days beginning March 13

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Dear Minisink Valley school community:

Last evening, the Orange County Department of Health issued a recommendation for all county organizations to postpone or cancel any large social events for the next 14 days. The Minisink Valley School District will begin to follow this recommendation effective Friday, March 13 with afterschool social events.

Please know that extensions to this timeframe may happen based on our ongoing monitoring of the situation along with any possible future recommendations and guidance from authorities.

Our decision was a thoughtful and informed one, based on ongoing guidance provided to us by local, state and federal health and education authorities, and one which we are confident is in the best interests of our Minisink Valley community. We know postponing and/or cancelling long-standing large school and/or community events on our campus is disappointing, but the district has a responsibility to prioritize the health and safety of everyone involved in our school district. We will not put anyone at risk.

We are currently compiling a list of cancellations and postponements and will be communicating with the affected groups directly.

Separately, school athletics and after school co-curricular events have not yet been cancelled, but we are reviewing on a case-by-case basis.

We appreciate your understanding as we continue to finalize this detailed review process. We expect this to be in place as soon as possible.

Late yesterday, March 11, Orange County Health Commissioner Dr. Irina Gelman issued guidance recommending and encouraging this action to slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep communities and residents healthy.

Minisink Valley is continuing to follow the guidance provided to us — and all school districts — and will follow any mandates that may be issued.

With larger outbreaks in surrounding counties and confirmed community transmission in Orange, Ulster and Rockland counties, multiple cases in Nassau and New York City, as well as the larger scale outbreak in Westchester County, limiting large social events at this time is imperative to maintaining public health, Dr. Gelman said.

Examples of these gatherings include planned or spontaneous events with a large number of people in attendance such as concerts, festivals, conferences and worship services. Additionally, it is highly advised that senior centers discontinue activities until further notice as COVID-19 has been disproportionally affecting individuals over the age of 60 with pre-existing medical conditions, according to the Orange County Department of Health.

Minisink Valley supports the recommendations of local, state and federal authorities who believe that early, broad and sustained community containment strategies are effective in reducing the spread of the virus.

As part of our regular procedures,  Minisink Valley has infectious disease protocols in place and has been taking steps, such as cleaning and disinfecting throughout our buildings, to minimize the spread of viruses and a variety of other illnesses.

There are a number of steps that students, staff and community members can take to minimize the spread of all respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, according to the State Department of Health:

  •   Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Heavily soiled hands should be washed.
  •   Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  •   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.

It’s critical to stress that our federal, state and local health professionals continue to reinforce to all of us that most people in the United States have little immediate risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19.

The district will continue to share information as it becomes available.  We will remain vigilant in our efforts to help prevent the spread of this illness and all other illnesses, and we appreciate your attention to the information we are providing.

Please visit the district’s Coronavirus Preparedness page on this website for useful information and resources.

Thank you for your continued trust in safeguarding the health, safety and security of your children while they are in school.  This remains our first priority.


Brian C. Monahan