View an important update from Superintendent Dr. Kurtis Kotes

Good afternoon, Goshen families:

 First, I want to wish all of you a very Happy New Year as we enter into 2022.  It is my most sincere hope that all of you are and remain well.

 On Dec. 28, Governor Hochul held a virtual meeting with school Superintendents from around New York State in relation to recent updates released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH). These updates and communications have been focused on the importance of preserving in-person learning for students in our communities.  

 Our goal is to keep schools open for in-person learning and to keep healthy students in school as much as possible. While we recognize that remote learning serves a limited need, it fails to address the educational, social, and emotional needs of the whole child. We must focus on these important pillars as we continue to navigate the challenges of COVID-19. 

 Moving forward, the district will adopt the following to in order to achieve these goals:

Test to Stay (TTS)

A new program called Test to Stay (TTS) is now being supported by the NYSDOH and the Orange County Department of Health (OCDOH). TTS is available to K-12 students who are not vaccinated and have been exposed to a positive COVID-19 case in school. Its purpose is to keep healthy students in school, instead of quarantining, through a series of in-school COVID-19 tests (with parent/guardian permission). 

 Under the TTS program, unvaccinated, asymptomatic students who are exposed to a COVID-19 positive individual while at school will have the option to take three COVID-19 tests over a seven day period instead of quarantining. These rapid antigen tests will be administered in school by our school nurses; results will come within minutes. As long as all test results are negative, the student may remain in school. Parental/guardian permission is required before any test can be administered. Testing for an exposed student will begin ONLY after receiving parental permission. The district is creating a permission slip that will be distributed to those who may require testing. TTS is optional; parents/guardians may choose to quarantine their exposed student as per prior practice.

 New York State has committed to supplying districts with COVID-19 testing kits. At this time, the district has received approximately 3,000 kits that will allow our school nurses to perform tests in school with parental permission. The sustainability of TTS is highly dependent on the availability of test kits. 

The goal of TTS is to help keep healthy students in school. If a student begins to display symptoms during the seven day testing period, the child should be kept home from school. If at any time a student tests positive, the school nurse will notify parents/guardians and report the results to the NYSDOH. The positive student must isolate for the remainder of the quarantine period. Parents/guardians should immediately contact their medical provider and follow their instructions.  

Our goal is to begin TTS as soon as we return to school after winter break. District officials are working with our school nurses and other staff to ensure our preparedness for TTS as soon as possible.

Shortened Isolation Time for Staff

In addition to keeping our students in school, it is also important that our classrooms, schools and buses are adequately staffed. The NYSDOH has shortened the isolation period for fully vaccinated essential workers, including those in education, during instances of critical staffing shortages. Districts may allow fully vaccinated staff who test positive and/or have mild symptoms to return to work after day 5 of their isolation period if:

  • They have not had a fever for 72 hours without the use of fever reducing medication.
  • They have resolution of symptoms, or if still with residual symptoms, then all are improving.
  • They do not have a runny nose.
  • They have no more than a minimal cough. 
  • They must be able to tolerate wearing a KN-95 or N-95 mask while in the work setting.
  • They must continue to isolate themselves outside of work until the end of the 10 day isolation period.

This new protocol will assist the district in being able to safely staff our buildings as we move forward through the rest of the school year.

Important Information

It still remains vital to the success of the school year to keep your children home if they are ill.  This helps avoid unnecessary disruptions in school and potentially disrupting the attendance of other students or staff. 

Thank you for your ongoing support of our schools and for ensuring our children are well while they are in attendance.  We will continue our focus on not only the physical health of our children, but their social and emotional well-being as we all work together to continue their educational success.  

Please continue to stay in contact with the faculty, support staff and administration in your buildings should you need further assistance.  If I can be of additional assistance, please contact me in the district office by phone or email. 

My very best for a Happy and Healthy New Year.

Dr. Kurtis Kotes
Superintendent of Schools