COVID-19 Communications from OCM BOCES
March 16, 2020 Update - Message from Deputy Superintendent Colleen Viggiano
Dear Parents and Guardians:
I would like to share the latest information regarding COVID-19 that will affect our OCM BOCES students. As of today, there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in Onondaga County. Students enrolled in all of our OCM BOCES programs will be out of school starting Tuesday, March 17. As of now, students are scheduled to return on Tuesday, April 14. This decision is a result of our collaboration with local government officials and school superintendents.
Following the directive of the New York State Education Commissioner, our teachers have prepared for the continuity of learning while your children are at home. You will receive additional information from your classroom teacher.
OCM BOCES will continue to utilize deep cleaning methods and the use of Clorox Total 360 machines to prevent the spread of this virus while schools are closed. For additional resources and guidance on this, as well as updates from OCM BOCES, please visit ocmboces.org/coronavirus.
I understand that this is a very difficult time for all of us. I would like to thank all of you for your support and understanding as we continue to do our best to serve you and our entire educational community at OCM BOCES.
Colleen Viggiano Deputy Superintendent OCM BOCES
March 15, 2020 Update - Message from Deputy Superintendent Colleen Viggiano
Good Evening OCM BOCES Community,
I would like to share another development related to COVID-19 that will affect our students and staff at OCM BOCES. As I explained in yesterday’s update, every BOCES in the state is required to follow the direction of each county executive and county health commissioner in the counties it serves. While there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Onondaga, Cortland or Madison counties at this time, we will continue to follow the guidance of our government leaders in each of these municipalities.
As you may already know, Cortland County Administrator Robert Corpora announced at 4:00 p.m. today that all students in Cortland County will be staying home as of Wednesday, March 18, 2020. Students are scheduled to return on Tuesday, April 14.
This affects OCM BOCES students and staff in the following programs:
• Students who attend our Cortlandville Campus, including those enrolled in our off-site New Vision and Career & Technical Education (CTE) programs in Cortland County
• Students who attend programs at our Port Watson Campus
• All OCM BOCES Special Education students who attend programs in school district classrooms and at the SUNY Cortland Campus
In addition, Madison County Chairman John Becker also announced a state of emergency today.
The announcements in Cortland and Madison Counties follow the news on Saturday that all students in Onondaga County will be staying out of school beginning Monday, March 23, 2020. Students are scheduled to return on Tuesday, April 14.
For OCM BOCES programs located in Onondaga County, here are the specific sites that will require students to stay home from March 23-April 13:
• Students who attend our Crown Road Campus and Thompson Road Campus. This includes students who are enrolled in the New Vision and Career & Technical Education (CTE) programs that are held off-site in Onondaga County
• Students from Onondaga County who attend our McEvoy building at the Cortlandville Campus
• Students who participate in programming at the Zogg building in Liverpool
• Students in our Special Education classrooms that are located in school districts in either Onondaga or Cortland counties
This week, our administrators will be working with instructional staff to prepare for the continuity of learning while these students are at home, as this is an expectation of the Commissioner of the State Education Department.
Thank you again for your dedication and commitment to our students, our staff, our districts and our organization during this challenging time for everyone. I will keep you up to date on future developments.
Colleen Viggiano, Deputy Superintendent
March 14, 2020 Update - Message from Deputy Superintendent Colleen Viggiano
Good Evening OCM BOCES Community,
I would like to give you an update on the letter I sent to you yesterday as the situation continues to evolve quickly around planning for the impact of COVID-19. As a BOCES organization, we are unique because we serve such a large number of school districts that span several counties. In each county, BOCES is required to follow the direction of the County Executive and the County Health Department in regard to school closings. While there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Onondaga, Cortland or Madison counties, leaders are working quickly to take proactive measures to protect the health and safety of our communities.
This afternoon I, along with the Onondaga County School Superintendents, met with Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon and Onondaga County Health Commissioner Dr. Indu Gupta to discuss COVID-19 and its potential impact on schools.
As of 5:00 this evening, Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon had announced a State of Emergency in Onondaga County.
As per the order of the County Executive, students in Onondaga County will be out of school beginning Monday, March 23, 2020. Students are scheduled to return on Tuesday, April 14. Mr. McMahon also made it clear that these closings could occur earlier if the situation changes.
Therefore, students who attend our programs at our Crown Road Campus and Thompson Road Campus will not be in attendance from March 23-April 13. This includes students who are enrolled in New Vision and CTE programs that are off-site in Onondaga County as well as students who attend programming at the Zogg building. Additionally, all of our Special Education classrooms that are located in school districts in Onondaga County will not be in session.
In the meantime, we are continuing to work with our Cortland and Madison County superintendents and county officials. We will inform you of any decisions related to school closings in those counties when we have new information. As of now, our Cortlandville Campus and classrooms based in districts in Cortland County are open.
As a reminder, we are taking extra precautions in all of our facilities to prevent the spread of this virus, including the use of Clorox Total 360 machines and increased surface cleaning by our custodians. It is important to continue to follow all of the hygiene recommendations mentioned in the previous letters. I appreciate our staff members dedication and commitment to supporting students in our region and in our school districts during this challenging time.
March 13, 2020 Update - Message from Deputy Superintendent Colleen Viggiano
To Our OCM BOCES Community:
I would like to give you an update on the work we are doing at OCM BOCES to address the growing concerns surrounding COVID-19. Although there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at OCM BOCES or in our local communities, we are closely monitoring the situation and working as proactively as possible to be prepared for its impact on our OCM BOCES community and the school districts we serve.
During these past few weeks, we have had meetings with the Onondaga County Commissioner of Health, superintendents of schools, and administrators that focus on the health and safety of our students and staff. We are also focusing on the essential services we will need to provide — at every level of the organization — in the event of a school closing. As we develop these contingency plans, we are testing them and fine-tuning them as much as possible.
I am very grateful for all of the hard work our staff is doing to build and expand our operational capacity. At the instructional level, administrators will be working with staff on plans to provide continuing instruction for our students should any students or staff be required to stay at home. This work will continue in the days ahead.
BOCES will follow the direction of our state and county health departments in deciding if schools need to be closed. If Onondaga County and Cortland County Health Departments confirm a case of COVID-19 in a district school or a BOCES site, that building will initially be shut down for a minimum of 24 hours while an investigation is conducted to determine if an extended closure period is required. The Health Department will decide if additional buildings should be closed for an extended period of time.
Until the next update, I would like to encourage you to keep practicing the single-most-important strategy for limiting the spread and impact of COVID-19: prevention. You may have already seen these tips from the New York State Department of Health, but I hope you will review them and share them with your loved ones:
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Stay home when you are sick.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing. If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash.
Routinely clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched.
Finally, if you feel like you, your student or anyone in the household has symptoms of COVID-19, your first step should be to contact your primary health-care provider to seek their advice. You should also contact your primary health-care provider if anyone in your household has been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
I know this is a difficult and uncertain time for everyone, and I appreciate everyone's support in planning ahead for our students, our staff, our districts and our organization as a whole. Thank you for your continued support as we continue to work together to address this global health challenge.
March 6, 2020 Update
March 6 Letter to Parents and Guardians regarding COVID 19