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COVID Update: Sleepy Hollow Plans Thursday Return to On-Campus Classes

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November 16, 2020

By Barrett Seaman—

The source of as many as 17 recent coronavirus infections among Sleepy Hollow High School students almost certainly stemmed from two Halloween parties, according to District Superintendent Chris Borsari. The flare-up led to a 14-day closure of the high school campus that is scheduled to end on Thursday, November 19, pending consultation with the County Health Commission.

In addition to the 17 students, Sleepy Hollow High School has three active COVID cases among its staff. The other four schools in the district, which reported a total of eight students and six staff/faculty active cases among them, have remained open.

In a previous report (https://thehudsonindependent.com/covid-update-trouble-in-sleepy-hollow/), the number of active cases in the district was incorrectly reported as 50 (38 students and 12 staff). Those figures represent active cases within the geographic area of the school district and includes infected individuals not connected to the public schools. Within the public schools themselves, there have been 31 student and 12 staff cases since the start of the school year.

“What happens outside of school we have very little control over,” admitted Borsari. “The biggest thing we can do is to communicate.” To that end, Borsari sends out missives to families on a regular basis. “Every week, I’ve been reminding them of the social contract we have,” he said, referring to social distancing, mask-wearing and frequent handwashing.

The school district has no testing protocol, largely because there is no funding available, said Borsari. The district’s health care coverage does not include preventative measures like testing. “None of the school systems in the area have any testing,” he said. Instead, the school requires all students entering the school buildings to fill out standard questionnaires about their health and contacts, and to have their temperatures taken. Generally speaking, people are tested only after they have become symptomatic. Under Governor Cuomo’s guidelines for his cluster zone strategy, testing is only required in school systems within a colored (yellow, orange or red) zone.

In the larger world around the rivertowns, the situation is at least similar and often worse. “COVID-19 is spreading in New York, and the increased number of cases is taking place throughout the state,” said Cuomo in his daily briefing Monday. “This is not an upstate or downstate issue—all New Yorkers, regardless of where they live, have cause for concern.”

Westchester County Executive George Latimer echoed that in his briefing as well. “Clearly, this is the second wave of COVID that we’re facing,” he said. Currently, the county has 3,515 active cases. A month earlier, that number was 952. Eleven county residents died just last week—the same number that died throughout all of July and August.

As a result of the rising numbers, the county is curbing its workforce down to 25% where possible as of November 23rd. All its boards and commissions will be meeting only virtually until further notice. Whether further restrictions on dining, use of gyms and size of gathering will be implemented will be determined by the governor based on the metrics.

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