School nurses help in bid to vaccinate Camden teachers; VVS, Westmoreland eye extending remote education

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The Camden school district today was set to host a COVID-19 vaccination clinic, working with Rome Memorial Hospital and Utica Family Health Center to bring a first round of vaccinations to 100 district employees, according to Superintendent Dr. Ravo Root.

Among other school district announcements relating to COVID-19, Vernon-Verona-Sherrill (VVS) is extending its all-remote instruction schedule by two more weeks while Westmoreland is considering an all-remote extension but has not decided yet. Also, additional COVID-19 cases were reported for the Oneida and Remsen districts.

Camden — Today’s vaccination for 100 district employees was being administered in the Camden High School gymnasium, Root announced. Three Camden school nurses — Robin Wolzmuth, Tansha Nottingham, and Leslie Williams — volunteered to administer the vaccine.

In an effort to fairly determine who received the vaccine this week, employees were given the opportunity to have their names entered into a computer program which then randomly selected 100 names, the announcement said. The district has about 420 employees overall.

In addition, earlier this week the district was able to send some employees to Rome Hospital for vaccinations plus some were able to be vaccinated under their own accord, said the announcement. By today, it added, the district will have over 150 employees vaccinated.

About 170 more employees want to be vaccinated, Root said separately on Wednesday.

“As long as the supply of vaccines continues to flow” from the state, “we will hold a weekly vaccination event in the district until all employees that want to be vaccinated are vaccinated,” Root commented. The district has been on a 100% remote instructional format for several weeks, and on Jan. 19 plans to resume a hybrid schedule of in-person and remote instruction.

VVS — The district will extend remote learning through Jan. 29, resuming hybrid instruction on Feb. 1, Superintendent Martha Group said Tuesday night in a letter to district families.

Previously the district had been planning to resume hybrid instruction on Jan. 19, having been all-remote since mid-December.

Group said the further extension of remote learning was “a result of the information collected,” and also noted the district has been “closely monitoring infection rates across the region as well as collecting data on VVS students and staff who are currently ill or are required to quarantine.” She additionally said that while the school COVID-19 infection rate remains low, the impact of community infections is significant, including intermittent closures and the sudden need to quarantine for those individuals exposed to the virus. The district’s ability to adequately staff schools is diminished due to quarantine and isolation requirements, she observed.

Westmoreland — The district also had been scheduled to shift back to a schedule including some in-person instruction on Jan. 19, but “based on current data, I’m thinking the week of Jan. 18 may be too soon to resume in-person instruction,” Superintendent Rocco Migliori said in a website message.

A final decision will be made by Friday, he added.

Migliori’s message also noted the district is aware of 25 students and five staff members in isolation due to testing positive for COVID-19 or in quarantine due to being a close contact. It said “having accurate and up-to-date information is critical as we try to determine when to resume in-person instruction,” adding “my sense is the number of students and staff in isolation or quarantine is much higher....” He asked families to contact their child’s school nurse if a child has tested positive and is isolated, or was a close contact and is in quarantine.

Remsen — The district has been made aware of one elementary student and one high school student who have tested positive for COVID-19, Superintendent Timothy Jenny said Tuesday in a letter to parents and guardians.

“These individuals are members of the same family and have not been in school since before Christmas break,” said Jenny. “While there is no risk of exposure or a need for contact tracing here at school, we want to be sure to keep everyone informed.”

The district last week resumed an education schedule that includes grades K-6 fully in-person while grades 7-12 are in a hybrid format.

Oneida — The district learned that a high school student tested positive for COVID-19, Superintendent Mary-Margaret Zehr said Wednesday in a message to families and staff. The student has not been in district buildings in the past week, she said, and after conferring with the Madison County Department of Health it was determined that the positive case had no exposure at school.

Zehr noted that on Tuesday next week, students will resume their typical hybrid learning schedule; the district in mid-December had announced a shift to remote learning. She also mentioned impacts of COVID-19 cases such as staff quarantines, commenting if the district is unable to provide in-person instruction due to staffing shortages, it will prioritize pre-K to grade 8 instruction by attempting to shift substitute staffing.

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