The increase in COVID-19 cases that has been happening in Brooklyn and Queens for a few weeks has reached our neighborhood. Fort Greene/Clinton Hill/Bed-Stuy(zip code 11205) is now a designated “area of concern.” (See https://on.nyc.gov/2GtI8fS).
For those of you enrolled in blended learning, the school system will switch to full time remote if the 7-day average of citywide test positivity is 3% or higher. Currently we are about 1.5% (data here) and there is great concern it will continue to increase.
Slowing the spread of COVID is a community project that we can all participate in. If we want blended learning to continue and also safely expand to include more students, it will take everyone’s vigilance. Here are some ways that families can stay safe and also keep others safe at the same time:
- Improve mask-wearing
Wearing masks is highly effective in stopping spread!
For those in blended learning, our students have been doing a great job listening to their teachers about mask-wearing, but there is absolutely room for improvement. Please remind your child(ren) that the rule is that in school, masks stay ON. Help us get to full compliance by discussing the following with your student(s):
- Masks are for keeping them safe and for keeping their classmates and teachers safe. It’s a kindness to wear a mask.
- Masks must be worn over both mouth and nose.
- Ask them to raise their hand and ask their teacher for a mask break if they need one rather than just taking it off.
- If they see another child with their mask down, it does not mean that it’s ok for them to do the same.
- If your child sees a classmate or a teacher with their mask down, they should raise their hand and ask for a “mask check” for the whole class, and the teacher will remind everyone to keep their masks on and look around to make sure everyone is doing so.
If your family is in blended learning, we strongly encourage you to enroll your child(ren) in the on-site, school-based testing organized by DOE (full details here) if you feel comfortable doing so. You will need to fill out and return the consent form (English form here. Alternate languages can be found here.) to the school. We know testing can feel very scary and upsetting for some children, and you should absolutely make the choice that is best for your family. However, please before deciding to opt out, please do read the information about the efforts to minimize the invasiveness and maximize family and student comfort.
For those in full time remote, all New Yorkers have access to free testing at city-run testing sites, and all DOE students and staff have priority (ie, 48 hr turn-around on results) at these sites.There is a testing center within walking distance (10 minutes) from PS 20 at the Cumberland clinic, 100 N Portland between Myrtle Ave and Park Ave.
- Exposure tracking
We want to spread the word that there is a new contact tracing app called COVID Alert NY available for free download to all New Yorkers from New York State. The app is voluntary and anonymous, and you can learn more about it here. Again, it’s entirely voluntary, but more people in our community using the app in return makes the app more useful to our community! Another tool in the tool box for staying safe from COVID.
- Keep up the good work!
As always, keep to the basics - wear a mask, wash your hands, stay 6 feet from others, avoid crowded indoor settings, stay home when sick. As a community, we can maximize our safety and take care of one another.