Jan. 2 message from Superintendent Brian Monahan on reopening schools

Minisink Valley logoDear Minisink Valley parents/guardians:

Happy New Year! I know we’re all looking forward to school reopening tomorrow.  Our faculty, staff, administrators and Transportation Department are ready to safely welcome students back into our classrooms.

Please know as we continue to watch news reports about the COVID-19 Omicron variant, we’re in regular contact with the Orange County Department of Health (OCDOH) and the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) on all COVID-19 related matters. This past week, I was part of Gov. Hochul’s briefing on the state’s plans and will continue to be part of future briefings.  Orange County school district superintendents virtually met today to discuss the issues relevant to the county’s positivity rates.

Our plan remains on keeping our schools open for in-person learning. We know this is the best option for academic instruction. We understand the equally important social/emotional aspects of having students attend school in-person. As our very trusted partners, we know you similarly believe this and do everything you can to safeguard your child’s good health so this can continue to happen.

Minisink Valley will be developing and presenting plans to OCDOH to introduce an optional Test to Stay (TTS) Program this week. OCDOH approval is required prior to implementing this program. More details will follow once our plan is finalized, submitted and approved. Thank you for your continued patience.

As a reminder, here’s the COVID-19 quarantine rule for students:

  • Unvaccinated students are required to quarantine for 10 days upon testing positive or being in close contact, especially if not masked, with a positive person.
  • Vaccinated students do not need to quarantine if they are showing no COVID-19 symptoms.

Some important reminders to emphasize:

  • If your child is not feeling well, don’t send him/her to school. Keep your child home from school if you’re awaiting a test result. This helps to avoid an unnecessary issue if the student ends up testing positive and is already in school and potentially infecting others.
  • Please consider speaking to your child’s healthcare provider about possibly having your child receive the COVID-19 vaccination.  As you know, the FDA recently granted emergency use authorization (EUA) to the two-dose Pfizer pediatric vaccinations for children aged 5 to 11.
  • Additionally, please consider reaching out to your healthcare provider to have a thoughtful conversation about COVID-19 booster shots, if you qualify. Medical experts agree that a booster shot is likely to give you additional protection against COVID-19, including the current Omicron variant.  These same medical professionals tell us this not only better protects you, but it protects those who don’t yet qualify to be vaccinated.

The good health and safety of all our  students and staff is our highest priority. I appreciate your continued understanding and support of our efforts to keep schools open, to keep our students healthy and to provide the best possible in-person learning experience to maximize student success.


Brian C. Monahan