Rising COVID cases in Rome district prompts reminder

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Rising cases over the past several days have the Rome City School District issuing a reminder about COVID protocols and regulations.

“By now, you most likely continue to see many of the ongoing developments surrounding the COVID-19. During the past several days, there have been increases in the number of COVID-19 cases affecting our schools, to the point where there are more positive cases of students and staff than any other time throughout the past year,” said a letter to families from Rome Superintendent Peter C. Blake. “Fortunately, the majority of positive cases are related to community spread and weekend/after school activities, however, each positive case is greatly impacting our ability to keep schools open.”

“While we continue to monitor the local situations related to COVID-19, as well as maintain daily communication with Department of Health officials; I want to take this opportunity to remind everyone of the things that can be done outside of school to ensure that other families/staff members are not negatively impacted your/our decisions,” Blake said.

“It is important to remember that the single largest threat to maintaining open schools are the quarantine requirements that are placed on students, families, and staff if a positive case enters a school.”

In an effort to decrease the number of quarantines that we are experiencing on a daily basis, Blake urged the following steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

Check your temperature every day before leaving for school/work. If it is greater than 100-degrees, stay home;

If you are not feeling well, stay home;

If you know you have been in contact with a known positive COVID-19 case or suspect that you have been around a positive COVID-19 case, please get tested before returning to school;

Where a mask, at all times when around anyone that does not live in your household;

Wash hands with soap and water frequently or use hand sanitizer if hand washing is not possible;

Cover your coughs and sneezes with your elbow, not with the hands;

Maintain social distancing, especially in situations where you are around people who are not in the same household.

“While our goal is and will remain to keep schools open, the quarantine requirements that are being placed on families is becoming burdensome and may be avoidable with a little more focus on prevention outside of school. Weekends and evening activities are seeming to increase our positive cases, so we ask that you please be cognizant that when kids are attending schools, there is the possibly to impact many other students and their families if you or your child attends school while possibly ill,” the letter added.

“Also, it is important to be reminded that the Rome City School District has no control over quarantine requirements and/or who is placed in quarantine as a result of an exposure. We work directly with the Oneida County Health Department on all COVID-19 related situations and take all direction from them. While our principals have been asked to contact families who need to quarantine, please understand that they are not responsible for the quarantine order and I kindly ask that you do not “shoot the messenger.” Our entire staff is working tirelessly to keep schools open, and we will continue to do so. If you have specific questions about quarantines, please contact the Oneida County Health Department,” Blake’s letter added.

“Our first priority is always the health and safety of our students and staff. We thank you for your continued efforts to partner with our schools to help keep them open for schools. We have all worked extremely hard over the last year to get to this point and with continued diligence and effort we can keep schools
open for the reminder of the 2020-2021 school year,” Blake added.

“I appreciate everything that every member of our school community has done and continues to do to protect each other and more importantly respect each other. No one has ever attempted to accomplish the riddle that schools are having to solve this year and despite frequent turns and barriers, everyone has continued to move in a direction that gets our kids in school, full time. For that, I am grateful and proud of the work within the Rome community. Continue the efforts and thank you for your time,” the superintendent’s letter concludes.

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